By Caroline Creedon
3 Ways For You and Your Team to Network
It’s no surprise that your success as a business is largely fuelled by the people on your team. What may often go unrecognized is the power of how well you actually work with those people, and how you succeed as a group together towards common goals.
Networking is no different. While you might be a social butterfly making tons of connections in your industry, if the other people in your business aren’t working towards that same networking goal, you’re only playing half the game.
We’ve brought in our very own networking expert, Kacie Brignell, to share her wisdom. From new and innovative ways to network, to encouraging your team to get on board and network with you, Kacie’s brought in some great tips on how to make the most of team networking.
Let’s kick things off by understanding that networking is an investment that takes time, but that will have a massive long-term payoff when done effectively.
Now let me ask you this. Does the thought of networking make you feel a little uneasy?
You’re not alone. Everyone has different confidence levels and that’s perfectly normal, but as you invest in networking as a business, you invest in the confidence of yourself and your entire time, which will ultimately serve you all both personally and professionally.
There are essentially 3 ways to network:
- In-Person Networking Events
Whether it’s a trade show, a cultural event, or even your local pub, anywhere there is a group of people is essentially an in-person networking opportunity. It doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds.
When you’re looking for an in-person event to attend, look for events that are tailored to your kind of people. A few great places to start are EventBrite, MeetUp, and LinkedIn.
No, I don’t just mean social media. There is a wealth of business-specific networking events happening online these days and they’re a great way to connect with people outside of your local area.
One tip for attending these online events–take note of people in these events who influenced you or who you want to connect with and find them on LinkedIn.Remember, this initial reach-out is not the time for your sales pitch. Introduce yourself, and the business chat will come later, I promise.
LinkedIn is a super strategic way to leverage your time and your network, including the people on your team.
One great thing about LinkedIn is that it’s always on. As people move through their careers and change jobs, their LinkedIn profile is typically consistent and you will always have some type of connection with them, wherever you both go.
Here are 6 simple tips to get your team working together on LinkedIn to scale your business and build your reputation:
- LinkedIn is most effective when you approach it the same way you would an in-person connection. Find common ground and get to know the person first outside how they might contribute to your business. Your initial LinkedIn connection should never be a sales pitch right off the bat.
- Share content to your company page about what’s happening in your business, both customer-facing and behind the scenes. People learn to trust a business that shares real information about the people that are a part of it.
- Get your team involved by asking them to share the content you post on the company page. This will show the people in their networks what your business is all about, and it’ll spread through the grapevine quite naturally.
- Get your team to register their role within your business on their profile, which will ultimately bring all your smaller individual networks together to form one massive company network.
- Connect with the people already in your network first. Current and past clients are a great place to start. This also helps verify your business by showing your network you’re active and you’re good at what you do.
- Build rapport and trust by inviting connections on LinkedIn to in-person company events. Not only will this save you from having tons of one-on-one coffee meetings, but it’ll also show potential leads what your company has to offer. Invite them to meet your team and see if it’s a good fit.
Now, I understand a big part of our hesitation around networking is the fear of being rejected or straight-up ignored. That’s perfectly natural.
Luckily, Kacie has brought some great advice on how to overcome that initial fear.
- Get out of your own head and don’t overthink the situation. There are a million reasons someone might not respond to a message, especially if it’s from someone whose name they don’t recognize, so try your best not to take it personally.
- Try following up after a week or so and if you still don’t receive an answer, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
- Followthemonlineto keeps up with what they’re involved with, and the lead may even develop over time as you interact with each other’s activity naturally.
Now when it comes to team networking, it’s all about getting your team into the right mindset. I’m only going to write this once and I’m going to leave it here for you to digest:
Networking isn’t about working a room or closing a sale. It’s about having a conversation and building a relationship.
Getting your team ready to network together is all about helping them understand how they’re helping others. This, in turn, changes their mindset from “sales” to “connections” and immediately makes networking seem a lot more valuable and attractive.
Another huge value to team networking is helping develop soft skills. Communication and confidence are two skills that not everyone can knock out of the park by nature, but they are both skills that can be practiced and continually improved upon.
Here are 3 tips to help you and your team get started:
- Bring a wingman. You’re more likely to have success working as a team.
- Don’t live in someone else’s shadow. Break away from your team when you’re ready.
- Start a new conversation by talking about the event itself, not about business.
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