In previous years when I’ve tried networking it didn’t go so well. Let’s flashback to an old blog post (from a now-defunct blog I used to have) and let this serve as a lesson in How Not to Network:
Previous Blog Post
I’ve discovered I’m inept at networking. I can chat up a storm and make small talk easy enough. But the minute I’m to sell myself…crickets, lots of loud crickets go off in my head. I’m not sure exactly what my facial expression is, but it must match the confusion in my brain as the potential prospect smiles and excuses himself from my midst.
I once attended a Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The public was invited because they were kicking off a city-wide Get Fit program. I arrived early, sure that it would be packed to the rafters. Well, it wasn’t. I was shocked, am I the only one who reads the local paper? Hello, there are nearly 20,000 people in this city. Twenty-two people were in attendance. Twenty-one of them were members of the Chamber of Commerce. Guess who the twenty-second person was? Yep, me.
Everyone was prepared to network, everyone but I.
I received many business cards. Do I have business cards? Um, no. Did I offer my freelance services? No. Did I go up to an editor of a newspaper in the area? No. When the first person stood to speak, his suggestion was to go around the room and introduce ourselves along with the business we represent and our position in that business.
After many rounds of “I’m so-and-so, with such-and-such business, and I’m the important-job-title,” we arrived at me. What came out of my mouth? “I’m Diane and I write…um freelance. And, uh, I mainly came because of the invitation to the public.” Insert big smile, plastered on red face and a quick plunk back in my seat.
I’m not going to let this happen again. I’m trolling the internet and learning how to network. Does anyone have ideas? Does anyone have suggestions for links? Share, because the next time I cover this subject, I want to have a little pride and be able to relate a writing assignment acquired from decent networking skills.
End Previous Blog Post
Well, I have learned from that long-ago post. I have taken my business seriously. Along with my new website, I have business cards. I am prepared. And, I have a pep talk ready for the drive there so I can get in a business frame of mind. See, even though I have the physical tools to sell myself, I struggle with talking up what I can do. When I used to work as an Administrative Assistant eons ago, I would give myself a pep talk before meetings, it was my way of changing hats, from the normal Diane to the business Diane. It worked well. Let’s hope it works well, Saturday.
By all means, if you have tips or ideas for smooth networking skills, share. Please share.