Schmooze you Lose
You are invited to a networking event, sometimes more aptly named a “Schmooze Fest.” You were told you should aim for at least 25 new business cards per evening. It’s like speed dating, only as a result of this hand-shaking-eye-contacting-card-passing-feeding frenzy, you will have 25 more new contacts. If more contacts means more business your business is sure to grow in leaps and bounds if you keep this up. Right?
Not quite! Networking is not about papering the city with your business cards. Networking is about relationships; developing, maintaining and nurturing relationships and it accounts for approximately 87% of business in the market place today. A handshake, even a good one, eye contact and a thirty-second elevator speech about what YOU do is not likely to get you there. However, quality conversations allow you to get to know more about the other person and build trust and rapport. Trust is the glue that keeps networks together. Without trust, business rarely happens because people want to do business with those they know, like and trust. Ultimately, it is not just who you know, it’s who knows you and what they know about you. What reputation you have earned. Think of networking as farming, not hunting. You plant the seed and then nurture it, work at it, cultivate it and watch it grow. Aim for three or four new contacts. Whew!