Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Business Networking

Learn the secret of business networking.

35 years ago I was the director of Special Events at the New York City Ballet. I had to go to loads of meetings, cocktail parties, fund-raising events, get-togethers with donors, as well as organise and run the company’s own events.

When each meeting, get-together and event was over; I’d be flooded with relief. Although networking was a huge part of my job I was uncomfortable with what I expected of myself – to chat, meet new people, introduce myself to potential donors, meet and greet and so on. The irony was that I was actually very good at it and successful at my job, but I never enjoyed that aspect of it.

I had to force myself to leave the comfortable groups I was chatting with (usually colleagues) to meet other people; my stomach would be tied up in knots; I’d feel tongue-tied and awkward, even if it didn't show. 

35 years later, going to business networking events is a ‘piece of cake’. This isn’t arrogance talking; this is me, after developing Business Networking Courses at Impact Factory, practising what I preach. 

First thing I discovered many years ago was that I wasn’t alone in feeling that everyone else could do it better. I even got feedback from other people that it looked as though it was so easy for me to break into already formed groups, introduce myself to total strangers and so on. 

The reality is that quite a few people, if not most, really don’t enjoy networking. They may look okay on the outside but inside their tummies are tided up.

What has changed for me is knowledge. 

When we created Business Networking Courses; the objective wasn’t simply to help people feel more comfortable in the networking arena, but to demystify the whole process of networking and to give people enough understanding so they felt in charge of the networking arena.

Through creating these courses, I learned as well.

Because I now understand the dynamics of how nearly every person behaves at business events, I can see what’s going on. I'm no longer intimidated, and I genuinely enjoy the whole process of joining and leaving groups, introducing myself, ‘schmoozing’, acting as a ‘hostess’ even if it isn't my event. 

Instead of being intimidated, I can go to events without knots in my stomach or feeling awkward.

It’s like being let into a secret that I felt other people knew and I didn’t. That’s the beauty of our Business Networking Courses – everyone can be in on the secret.

We also run open courses in London for Building Business Relationships, Assertiveness Skills and Personal Impact.

No comments:

Post a Comment