How we Improved Social Networking for Our Business
Posted by Joey Alarie
Every time I check LinkedIn I feel like there is a new article about networking and how to succeed at it. Just the word networking has this professional stigma attached to it that puts a massive amount of pressure on the person attending an event (at least to me it does). I used to hate going to networking events because they felt so forced and fake that I would walk away from it hardly having talked to anyone and feel like it was two hours I will never get back.
It wasn’t until I listened to a podcast by Tim Ferriss (How to Build a World-Class Network in Record Time) that I actually started to enjoy going to networking events and started getting the most out of them. His tip that helped me the most was when you are talking to someone you have never met before, don’t just start talking about work, but ask more personal questions like “where are you from?” This approach helped me to engage with more people and to have better quality conversations than just talking about the daily 9-5.
Another change that needed to be made for me personally was to stop trying to just get leads for new business. I used to go into an event with the mindset that I needed to collect 20 business cards, instead of asking engaging questions and learning something about new people. I used to think that the more business cards I got the better I was at networking, but this attitude was ultimately making networking a daunting task instead of a fun social outing.
For example, this past weekend I went to the Winter Garden farmers’ market with a Santa hat on and what seemed like an endless supply of Alarie Design T-shirts and struck up conversations with people and gave away shirts in exchange for likes on our Facebook page. I know this wasn’t a formal networking event, but I was just as nervous when I was walking around with an arm full of shirts. My goal for the day was to spread some Christmas cheer, clear out our T-shirt inventory, and increase our social media presence in the process. To me it felt like a huge success, I got to meet a ton of new people, have meaningful conversations, and remind people that Alarie Design is a community minded company. Sometimes the best networking events are the ones you just make up and do.
Networking is about getting you and your company exposed to uncharted territory where you get to connect with people on a more personal and unique level that goes beyond your voice over the phone or your words behind an email. Now I try to go to 1-2 networking events a week and when I go I don’t just look for opportunities to get new business, I look to have a quality conversation with new people and build a relationship that will last for years to come.
Ps- If you want to check out the Tim Ferriss podcast, here is a link to the episode!