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Posts Tagged ‘building relationships’

Are Networking Mixers A Waste Of Time?

Before you get all defensive, I know plenty of people swear by the networking mixer as a great way to cast a wide net and meet a bunch of potential clients. As a general rule I don’t attend these types of events unless I have a purpose. Mingling by itself is not a purpose; I mean a defined (often quantifiable) objective.

What prompted this post? I recently attended the worst networking mixer ever! I mean poor sound quality, multiple presenters just pitched and offered nothing of value, no traffic flow or structure within a huge lounge space, and… the attendees didn’t actually network. I went to meet a friend (and future client), and we both wanted to learn more about the hosting organization. My friend and I actually had a great time together. Unfortunately I noticed something awkward about the rest of the people there. I thought I’d have a little fun and show him why I’m so “particular” about attending networking events and adamant about having clear objectives if I choose to attend.

We both sat back and observed everyone’s behavior, as a social experiment of sorts. Then, I would go up to people and intentionally not offer my name or biz, but start a conversation with a “What’s your name?” or a “What do you do?” – and would you believe not a single person reciprocated? Yes, it was that bad! To make matters worse, my friend knew several people there and they all failed my test as well. Needless to say, he was stunned! But now he understands why I’m so strategic in spending my time and resources as I build my business. Running around to go to a bunch of events for the sake of going is simply not an option for most small business owners, a lesson he clearly understood after this experiment. I never did find any movers and shakers there to talk business. 

On the flip side, I attended an unrelated mixer a couple of weeks later because I wanted to meet and get to know a particular person that I chatted with a couple of months ago online. I had a fantastic and productive time at this mixer! Not only did I meet this person, but the attendees were engaging, lively, and prepared to socialize and talk business. Of course there were a couple of duds, but I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the interactions all around me.

Today’s Lesson: Do not attend a networking mixer without a clear objective. The challenge with networking mixers is that so many people go to say they’re pulling long hours, working so hard to meet prospects and trying to make sales. In reality, they’re going to have hors d’oeuvres and cocktails!

What are your thoughts on this often-used activity? How have you benefited from attending networking mixers? Are you intimidated by networking events? Post a question/comment and share your experiences!

Ciao,
Miss Kemya

Networking: The Conversation Just Started

If you are a current (or aspiring) business owner or self-employed by any means, you already know you can only eat if you make sales. With that being said, what are you doing to keep yourself fed? When you’re out attending events, traveling and otherwise  “networking”, what do you do when you get home?

Networking is only useful if you FOLLOW UP to build the relationship and actually make a sale/gain a referral/gain a resource to grow your business. Thus we have today’s quick tip: don’t waste time networking if you’re not going to follow-up on the contacts you make. Attending networking events costs money, time and resources, so why not take the initiative to follow-up with interesting people you meet? Note: do not become a spammy salesperson. You can plan to meet for coffee (or a bagel, cocktails, you get the point) and get to know a person. You might be surprised by what you have in common or what you can learn.  Remember, you already have a baseline for a conversation if you attended the same event. You have a wealth of free social media tools at your disposal to stay in touch with your new contacts, so there is really no reason why you can’t build a relationship with people as you go about developing your business and your network of resources.

If you don’t want to do any follow-up, and you just want to sit around complaining about the status of your business, you might as well do something else better with your time and money, like skimming through the yellow pages for contacts…

Ciao,
Miss Kemya 

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