by Tumi Frazier, founder of Tumi Frazier International
While your business success certainly starts with you, it will only grow to higher levels as a result of your associations and relationships with the right people because alone you can only do so much. This said, how do you ensure you are not wasting your time by fruitless networking meetings?
The networking meeting where all you do is hand out business cards to half of the room; collect as many cards as possible, some of which you will never ever use or remember the people who gave them to you. The type of a meeting where you chat with two or three people, have a drink, some snacks and then leave.
If this is what happens for the most part when you network, then ask yourself these questions: Are you getting any benefits out of these networking sessions? Are the people you connect with the right people you should be talking to in the first place or do you just make idle talk with everyone?
While small talk is important to build rapport, don’t get stuck there; get to the point of why you are at the networking event, because failing to qualify real potential customers, associates, or resources even long term friends is a waste of time. Remember, good friends also play an advocacy role in your business.
As an entrepreneur, your time is a valuable asset you can’t afford to waste.
So, next time you attend a networking meeting remember the following:
- Be clear what your reason for attending the session is.
- Find at least three people you want to connect with, find out what problems they may need to solve.
- Steer the conversation accordingly and ask the right questions to determine whether your goals are aligned with them; this will also determine how much time to spend talking to them.
- If there is a potential for synergy even if you don’t know what that could be and when it would happen; do take time to invest in the relationship.
- Find ways to move the conversation forward by following up after the networking session.
- Send your new contact information that might be of interest to him/her and look for ways to add value to his/her business because the more you give of yourself the more rewards will come back to you from the most unexpected sources.
Tumi Frazier is a South African entrepreneur, professional speaker, author, TV personality, consultant, and founder of Tumi Frazier International, Tumi Leadership Academy, and Tumi Foundation. Tumi is an internationally acclaimed Leadership and Change Management expert who has worked with high profile clients and organizations across Africa, United States and Europe. Tumi has authored 4 books: Courageous Stories of Inspiration; In the Midst of the Storm; Stepping Stones to Success; and Your Moment. Follow Tumi Twitter | LinkedIn
Read more articles by Tumi....