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Powerful Networking Tips for Women Who Dont Like Networking

By: Karyn Pless

I have always dreaded networking in the past. Since I worked for large companies and wasn?t primarily responsible for business development, it was something I could effectively avoid for the 18+ years of my career. When I decided to go into business for myself, I have to tell you that I dreaded getting out there and networking.

I knew that networking would be critical to the establishment of my new business and was a major part of my strategic sales and marketing plan. Since my business is entirely targeted to women, I researched women?s networking groups in my area and just started showing up with business cards. Something surprising happened. I started making connections at these meetings with women I truly enjoyed, respected and admired. I attribute this positive result to the fact that instead of going out and bombarding people with my message, I entered the room determined to find out more about these other women. Naturally, in the course of our conversations I was able to discuss my company and the services I provide, but it goes deeper than that.

To effectively network, you need to take an interest in the other person, listen to what they are telling you and, eventually ask for what you need. So many people write off the person they are speaking to within a couple of seconds but keep in mind that you are not just communicating with that person, you are communicating with their entire network?likely more than 200 people. Who knows who their sister, business partner, brother, husband, etc may be. Perhaps the one person who can take your business to another level?

The best networkers truly want to help their contacts. It?s not a manipulative thing. You don?t feign interest to get what you want. You truly engage and try to match make in a business sense. After all, most valuable business people are well known for their broad and diverse network of resources. It is very valuable to be the one person people think of to call when they need a marketing research company, a professional organizer, a talented graphic designer, an awesome speaker, a top-notch meeting planner or a great attorney.

A phenomenal woman I know, Neen James is a dynamic, funny and truly gifted speaker and an expert on helping people increase their productivity. She also happens to be one of the authors of a fabulous book called, Network or Perish: learn the secrets of master networkers.

According to Neen?s book, there are some effective ways to find the right network and to get the most out of networking:

  • Choose the right network for your business
  • Organizations can be expensive to join. Visit the meeting twice before joining
  • Commit to the events
  • Get involved?volunteer for a committee or to do a job during the meeting itself
  • Never hand out cards with crossed out information. Always present a positive image
  • Schedule a follow up time and a 20-minute coffee meeting
  • Appear confident ? even ?fake it till you make it?
  • Be aware of your body language?stand up straight and tall
  • Don?t fidget
  • Introduce yourself first
  • Shake hands
  • Use a person?s name several times when you first meet
  • Have some prepared questions planned
  • Listen intently
Here are some of my own tips:
  • Have a :30 ?elevator speech? prepared for when someone asks what you do
  • Work to think of connections you can make for the person to whom you are speaking. People will naturally want to connect you with prospects as well
  • speaking about what you do, focus on the benefits your customers receive as a result of working with you. For example, "as a result of my services, my clients achieve reduced stress and overwhelm, increased self confidence, increased earning potential and the ability to spend more time with their family without sacrificing work"
  • Be sure to express your positive thoughts about the person?s business. So many times we assume successful people know that they come across effectively, look fabulous or have created an amazing business. When you admire someone, tell them. They will truly appreciate it
  • Remember, networking is a process. Chances are you won?t meet 10 potential clients at the next event. Your goal should be for others to get to know you, the resources you possess and the services you offer. People want to do business with people they like. Realize that these events allow people to become acquainted with you and eventually utilize your services or recommend you to someone else
  • Just get out there and enjoy yourself!

Karyn Pless is the creator of The Beyond Balance Home Study System? and President of a U.S. company called Beyond Balance which conducts corporate training, keynote speaking, seminars and executive coaching.

For 18 years Karyn built her career in marketing working her way up the corporate ladder to Vice President of Marketing of a U.S. retailer and then Vice President, Marketing and Creative Services of a U.S. promotional agency while also juggling two children and a husband. After turning to a personal coach herself to reduce the chaos in her life, Karyn decided to become trained and certified as a professional coach and pass on all she has learned to effectively guide business professionals who want practical, real-world, work/life integration tactics that actually work in the business world.

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