#7 – NetworkMe Podcast – 6 Unxpected Cs You Get From Networking
Listen here to this week’s episode.
Welcome to another edition of the NetworkMe Podcast. So in this episode we are going to explore 6 Unexpected Cs That You’ll Get From Networking. I’m going to break this down because I think there are so many intangible benefits to networking. So many people break it down to sales, to referrals, to leads. But I believe sincerely and genuinely that networking does so much more.
And do not get me wrong. Getting your leads, and sales is always an end game. But what happens before you get to sales, referrals and leads,? What happens when you were building up your time to get known, to get liked and get trusted? So within this episode, we’re going to talk about six unexpected Cs that you will get from networking. So I feel that there’s a lot of how to guides and what to say guides around networking. But as I said, few are focused on the intangible benefits.
So the first one for me is Confidence. And without a shadow of a doubt, I can say from experience, that learning to network for business is one of the things in my life that has really boosted my confidence. Now, for those of you who don’t know, me, I used to run a large team, I was confident in my work and my ability to deliver on my projects. I was able to articulate a message. I had to do a lot of presenting and pitching. But really when I started to network in 2017, in a business environment, and it was only years later that I realised, I was so much more confident because I have become self aware. I had to look at my beliefs, my values, what mattered to me, what was unequivocal about. And I had to fall back on me. And I really had to understand my voice and what I stood for.
When I went out networking, it was me, myself and I. And over time, I really felt my confidence growing as I met people, I connected with them, in a more intentional fashion, and really started to believe myself and find my own voice. And that is so critical. When I worked in a corporate environment, I didn’t realise I was siloed. In my mentality, I didn’t have a broader perspective. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And when I went out networking into a business environment, I was just amazed and literally awe struck going, oh my lord, there’s a whole world outside the corporate environment, and what I learned, but within that, then I had to find out.
What did I stand for? What mattered to me? What was my voice? Because when you don’t have a business card and a title behind you, you don’t have a big corporate company with its dogma, with its doctrine with its business plan, with its jargon, with its strategy. And it’s just you. Who are you? What’s your voice? What does it sound like? And I mean that metaphorically speaking, what do you stand for? So I find learning to network gave me confidence, and helped me find my own voice.
The next thing that I would say, point number two is that it gives Clarity. So many people start out their networking journey with one thought in mind. And as I said, the general reason to start networking is to get more sales, but they aren’t clear on who they want sales from.
So you’ll know, the person that I’m talking about at a networking meeting, they say they want to talk to anyone. Anyone who might need their product or their service. And they don’t have a clear idea of who their end customer is. And who could be. And networking can give you clarity on your bullseye customer. And you might have a different bullseye customer for different products, for different services in your business. But networking can really help get you clarity, because people within your networks are going to ask questions. And when you don’t have a clear and concise answer, it means you need to go back to the drawing board.
But we’re going to explore an ICA your customer avatar, your bullseye customer in a future episode. But for now, just trust me that networking can give you clarity on your customer and who that might look like. So. And the reason for this is that your thoughts develop and evolve. And the people that you meet will look at business differently. And this helps spark creativity and widen your perspective. And this all creates clarity of messaging, clarity of purpose, clarity around your target customer.
So the third C for me is around Communication. So joining networks is a great way to develop your confidence, as I mentioned above, but it’s also a part of the fact that you generally have to do an elevator pitch of some sort and it might be 30 seconds or 60 seconds when you’re at formal networking meetings. And this makes you delve deeper into your presentation skills. It makes you have to challenge your own way of thinking about how you articulate a message in your business.
But you also get the opportunity to do presentations and there might be 10 minutes or 20 minutes at a networking meeting, where you have to present and talk about your business, what you do, who you serve, the problems that you solve, etc. And for a lot of people who have been in a career, or even people who are starting out in business who have never had the opportunity to present, this can be extremely daunting. But the good news about networks is you get the experience, you get the opportunity to get the experience. And when you practice, and practice makes perfect. When you go out and do these presentations. And if you haven’t done them, embrace the opportunity to do so.
Because I guarantee you, you will learn so much about yourself your style, where you get caught up,, where you think you fell down, and that is gold dust, because you can use those thoughts, your feelings to get better for the next presentation that you do. And that is how we all grow. So it’s okay to learn, it’s okay to get better. When you’re in a networking environment, and the right network… And the right network will always feel like home. You know, you’ve got a tribe and a community of people who support you, who want to see you succeed, and who can also give you advice or their feedback and how you did. And that is enriching, because you’re in a safe environment. And people want to see you thrive, so delve into that lean into that opportunity to improve your communication skills.
So number four is Collaboration. So when you go to a networking event or a networking meeting, it’s likely that there are regulars in the room. But frequently there are visitors, what happens could be that… This could be called serendipity. So two people meet to head it off, the get to know each other and a new relationship blossoms and you just never know who you’re going to meet when you go into a networking meeting. And very often it can be on the day that you really don’t feel like going but you do. And then you meet somebody that opens a new door that changes the rest of your life. And that is how things happen.
When you were open to the universe saying that you want to change and you want to grow and you want to achieve. The answers will always show up and networking is great way for making this happen. So you find new collaborations, and it might be a new idea. It might be a new venture, joint venture, a new promotional opportunity. And you customer, you never know. But I guarantee you, if you’re not showing up and engaging in your networks, it won’t happen. So show up and see where you can find new collaborations.
Number five, for me is Community. Communities help you thrive. We don’t work alone. So finding the right network, few means that you’ll find your tribe and your community, you’ll find a group of peers who support you and lift you up who want to see you succeed. And that’s what I said around communication as well.
It’s people who want to see you succeed, who have your back, that’d be your sound board, the boards you can’t afford, they’ll be the people who will give you advice, they might mentor you, they might coach you. But that sense of community…When you find the right networks, and I always advise to be in two or three different networks. When you find the right networks, you will feel at home, you will feel safe. You will grow.
This leads to Camaraderie, which is point six in my unexpected Cs of why you should network and what you get from networking. It’s camaraderie. So if you’re running a business, it’s lonely. It can be daunting, Every business has its ups and downs, curveballs. You’re going to get knocked down. Things coming out of left field be at COVID. And there’s always going to be something.
But it’s always easier when you’ve got a community of people who are around you lifting you up and supporting you. And that you can pick up the phone to your business bestie to a friend, to have a little rant, you just need to soundboard, you’re not feeling as you are having a crisis of confidence, whatever it is, but when you’ve got a network around you, they give you the camaraderie, the support, and it’s always great that you can meet up for a coffee, you can get testimonials, you might want to hug a virtual hope now that we’re all getting vaccinated, but you will have a tribe of people around you.
So there are six reasons Camaraderie, Community, Collaboration, Community, Communication, Clarity, Confidence. I think these are amazing reasons to network. All of this will lead to sales. So don’t get me wrong, but the growth that you get from networking, I just think is awesome. So definitely have a look at those Cs and consider them and how they will affect you and what matters to you on your networking journey.
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