I’ve had it. I’m done. No more. Yes, you heard me. STOP networking. What, are you nuts? Isn’t networking essential to growing my business?
Re-labeling for its own sake is a waste of time. But substantive renaming that can alter perception and behavior is another matter.
I submit to you that “collaborating” is a superior concept to help you be in the right frame of mind, treat the activities of interacting with others as a pleasurable and wonderful craft that you can do with great pride and satisfaction and…. most importantly, accomplish far more.
The phrase “networking” sounds tactical and uncreative to me. How often has a friend or colleague said “I have to go network.” Why not just swallow some cod liver oil and be done with it.
The phrase “collaborating” sounds active, intelligent, purposeful and alive. Here are some thoughts about how to collaborate at events:
Help create community that is bigger than yourself and be a hero
- Be a giver who is helping strengthen the business eco-system by setting a great example
- You win when the pie gets bigger and if you helped make it bigger, you are a hero
- Of course you want to grow your business and ironically, it will happen better and faster if you are perceived as one who is generous, supportive and giving
How to collaborate at an event with folks you already know
- Socialize – this is a long-term journey not a sprint- do you know anything about their spouse, children, hobbies etc?
- Ask them to refresh your memory on their goals and who they want to meet. Offer to help if you can and then follow through.
- Tell them something you are doing that you are very jazzed about, perhaps have accomplished. It’s fine to let people know what you are looking for and who you’d like to meet but be gentle. The best way to ask for help is to first help that person first.
How to begin collaborating with folks you are just meeting at an event
- Socialize – show an honest, true interest and look to them for cues
- Ask them about themselves and their business… and listen deeply and take notes later to help you remember
- Tell them a little bit about what you and your business. It’s fine to look for cues that they want to know more but if there aren’t any, don’t push it. Again, if you can be helpful say so and do so but don’t offer to help if you can’t and don’t rush it. Let the relationship grow.
So, get out there and collaborate…. it’s a craft not punishment….. and prosper!