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6 Tips to Improve your Face-to-Face Networking

6 Tips to Improve your Face-to-Face Networking

There is an old saying, “It is not what you know, it is who you know.” You can significantly increase your chances of success in almost any field if you know or can get in touch with the right people. Most jobs are not advertised, they are filled through personal contacts. Most important business deals are done person-to-person. This is the power of networking. You can network over the internet using social media sites and LinkedIn. You can also network face-to-face either with friends and colleagues or with strangers who become new contacts. You can meet new people at networking events such as trade shows, exhibitions, professional association meetings, chambers of commerce, etc. Let’s focus on these kinds of opportunities. Here are some tips to improve your face-to-face networking.

1. Network with a purpose.

Do not go to a networking meeting aimlessly. Have a purpose. Your goal is to meet people that you can help and people who can help you. You do not know who they are yet, so you have to mix with a fair number to improve your chances. But you must have an overall goal. It helps other people to help you if they know what you are looking for.

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2. Smile and be friendly.

Don’t be too serious. People might see you as threatening if you are too intense and plunge straight into a heavy topic. Lighten up a little and give people your best smile.

3. Seek first to listen, then to tell.

Start with a friendly, safe question. Ask about themselves and their interests. Gradually, the conversation will turn to you, and then you can give a little background and introduce your focus. Remember that you are there to help others and that you have useful information and contacts for some of the people you meet.

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4. Take business cards.

Always have plenty of business cards. If you are out of work and looking for opportunities, have some cards printed with your name, email, and phone number. You can leave the title blank or put ‘consultant’ or ‘looking for the next opportunity.’ It is important to exchange cards with people so that the contact details are not forgotten.

5. Circulate.

Don’t stay the whole time making comfortable small talk with the first group you meet. After a while make a polite excuse e.g., “Nice to meet you, but please excuse me. There is someone else I need to speak to.” Move around the room spending, say, 10 minutes with each new person. You will find that you can leave conversations without being brusque. Networking means circulating, and most of the people at the meeting are aware of this.

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6. Follow up.

Always email the people you met within a couple of days of meeting them. Remind them of what you are interested in and offer to help. Ask if they would like to link on LinkedIn. Try not to send a standard email. Mention something you discussed.

Build your network list using email follow-up, LinkedIn, and other social media. Send people useful links and other information.  Politely ask people in your network for help when you need contacts or information.  Stay in touch and help other people to connect. You can become an expert networker and connector.  It will help you to be successful.

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Paul Sloane

Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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Last Updated on July 27, 2020

How to Find Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Purpose

How to Find Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Purpose

I wrote a few articles about starting a business based on something you love doing and are passionate about. I received several responses from people saying they weren’t sure how to go about figuring out what they were most passionate about or how to find their true purpose. So I’m dedicating this article to these issues — how to find your entrepreneurial passion and purpose.

When I work with a new client, the first thing we talk about is lifestyle design. I ask each client, “What do you want your life to look like?” If you designed a business without answering this question, you could create a nice, profitable business that is completely incompatible with your goals in life. You’d be making money, but you’d probably be miserable.

When you’re looking for your life purpose, lifestyle design isn’t a crucial component. However, since we’re talking about entrepreneurial purpose, lifestyle design is indeed crucial to building a business that you’ll enjoy and truly be passionate about.

For example, say you want to spend more time at home with your family. Would you be happy with a business that kept you in an office or out of town much of the time? On the flip side, if you wanted to travel and see the world, how well could you accomplish that goal if your business required your presence, day in and day out, to survive? So start by getting some clarity on your personal goals and spend some time working on designing your life.

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At this point, you may need a little prodding, and you may want to hire a coach or mentor to work with you through this process. Many people are very used to the idea that there is a particular way a life “should” be. There are certain milestones most people tend to live by, and if you don’t meet those markers when or in the manner you’re “supposed” to meet them, that can cause some anxiety.

Here’s how to find your passion and purpose:

Give Yourself Permission to Dream a Little

Remember that this is your life and you can live it however you choose. Call it meditation or fantasy, but let your imagination run here. And answer this question:

“If you had no fears or financial limitations, what would your ideal life, one in which you could be totally content and happy, look like?”

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Once you’ve figured out your lifestyle design, it’s time to do a little more soul-searching to figure out what you’re truly passionate about. This is a time to really look within and look back.

Specifically, look back over your life history. When were you the happiest? What did you enjoy doing the most? Remember that what you’re looking for doesn’t necessarily have to be an entire job, but can actually be aspects of your past jobs or hobbies that you’ve really enjoyed.

Think About a Larger Life Purpose

Many successful entrepreneurs have earned their place in history by setting out to make a difference in the world. Is there a specific issue or cause that is important to you or that you’re particularly passionate about?

For some, this process of discovery may come easily. You may go through these questions and thought experiments and find the answers quickly. For others, it may be more difficult. In some cases, you may suffer from a generalized lack of passion and purpose in your life.

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Sometimes, this can come from having suppressed passion in your life for too long. Sometimes, it can come from eating poorly and lack of exercise. But occasionally, it may have something to do with your internal chemistry or programming. If the latter applies to you, it may be useful for you to seek help in the form of a coach, mentor, or counselor.

In other cases, not knowing your true purpose may be a matter of having not discovered it yet: you may not have found anything that makes your heart beat faster. If this is the case, now is the time to explore!

The Internet is a fantastic tool for learning and exploration. Search hobbies and careers and learn as much as you can about any topic that triggers your interest, then follow up at the library on the things that really intrigue you. Again, remember that this is your life and only you can give yourself permission to explore all that the world has available to you.

How Do You Know When You’ve Found Your True Entrepreneurial Purpose?

I can only tell you how I knew when I had discovered my own — it didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. Rather, it settled over me, bringing a deep sense of peace and commitment. It felt like I had arrived home and knew exactly what to do and how to proceed.

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Everything flowed easily from that point forward. That’s not to say that I found success immediately after that moment. But rather, the path ahead of me was clear, so I knew what to do.

Decisions were easier and came faster to me. And success has come on MY terms, according to my own definitions of what success means to me in my own lifestyle design.

Dig deep, look within, and seek whatever help you need. Once you find that purpose and passion, your life — not just your entrepreneurial life, but your entire life — will never be the same.

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Featured photo credit: Garrhet Sampson via unsplash.com

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