The First Thing to do at Any Networking Event
For a long time, Networking has been the bedrock of Jolly Good Media’s success. It’s not just the business opportunities that appeal to us, but also the chance to better know and understand our community and the businesses that exist within it. Networking improves your communication, opens up amazing new paths for your business, and lets you learn about larger market forces shaping your business community.
There are many ways to network, one of the most relevant is the networking event. This is where many business owners or representatives come together to exchange information and talk about their businesses. People who attend the events hope to get new business or make valuable connections in the community.
Networking events can be difficult, especially at first. How do you break into a conversation? What do you talk about? Do you have to pretend to be interested in something you don’t care about? I used to turn up to networking events and desperately look for people I already knew so I could look busy. Or maybe I’d hang around the bar filling up on liquid courage to get rid of my anxiety. My initial conversations were ham handed, I asked the wrong questions and they’d shuffle away awkwardly. Sometimes I’d get dragged into a long sales pitch because I didn’t know how to say I wasn’t interested in what they were selling.
That is, until I started asking for help.
Asking for help at networking events
The first thing you should do when you enter a networking event is ask someone for help. Preferably someone in charge or someone who looks like they really know what they’re doing. Tell them what your business is and ask them how to get the most out of this networking event. Ask them to introduce you to someone who would be a good fit for your business. People love to help other people and they will be happy to feel important to your business success.
Asking for help an impressive display of pragmatism that will be apparent to whoever you’re asking for help with. From the outside, asking for help can be thought of as a sign of weakness, but up close it is a powerful sign of strength. It’s amazing what we can learn when we abandon our pretenses and reach out to the world for help. As Maggie Warrell says in her Forbes article on asking for help “When you don’t ask for help when you need it, you assume all of a burden that might easily (and gladly) be shared. But you also deprive those who’d love to assist you of the opportunity to do so.”
It’s likely that whoever you speak to at this event will have heard of your kind of business before. It’s important that we display our companies competence and reliability through subtle social signs. Like the ability to listen and ask pointed questions, or knowing when to end a conversation and move along. Asking for help is one of those subtle signs that you are in control of the situation and you’re working towards an outcome. It’s the kind of confidence that gets you results.
So to get your foot in the door at any networking event, ask for help as soon as you walk through the doors.