Welcome to all of our new subscribers this week! Dozens of folks have joined the Revitalized Business Woman Community this week. So glad to have you all with us!
Whether you own a business or are a professional, it’s important to expand and cultivate your network. Whether you are looking for clients, colleagues, friends or heck, even a love interest – I met my husband networking! – networking is a wonderful way to practice self-care by surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Having a tribe of people that you can count on for support both personally and professionally is critical for success in business and in life.
There is not just one right way to network. It’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Extroverts will love big events with lots of people and introverts will thrive in smaller settings or 1:1 interactions. You’ve got to find the style and approach that works for you.
- If you like structure and accountability and want to get to know a few people for the long-term, consider BNI (Business Network International) or Toastmasters. These groups meet weekly, you often have a specific role to play and if you are absent, it will be noticed! BNI is a referrals group which means the specific focus is on sharing qualified potential business with one another. Toastmasters is a special interest club that meets weekly where members have the opportunity to improve their public speaking skills.
- If you like flexibility, meeting new people and you want to connect with a wide variety of people in different industries, your local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to go. They have choices of morning mixers, afternoon gatherings, workshops and more.
- If you like the idea of networking with women only, find a group that feels like a good fit. Some meet weekly, monthly or quarterly. Some national groups are ABWA (American Business Women’s Association), BPW (Business & Professional Women) and NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners). In Houston, I’ve really enjoyed being part of the Executive Moms Society and I’ve started my own group called Sienna Women in Business. Ask your friends where they go to network and see if you can tag along.
- If you want to meet others in your same profession, find a group in town or start your own. Making friends and establishing connections with others in your field is really a wise thing to do. It gives you other people to serve as a sounding board who understand the issues that you face in your business. It also allows you to build a referral list. If you get too busy with your business or a potential client appears who you can’t help, you’ve got a list of professionals that you can send referrals to. When you help others by giving them good referrals, they’ll remember you in a positive light.
- If you don’t love group settings and you prefer talking to an individual person for a length of time, consider initiating a series of 1:1 lunches or coffees. Make a list of 10 people that you’d like to get to know better, call and ask them to go to lunch with you with the intention of getting to know each other better. You can structure your visit so that you both have 30 min to talk about yourself and your business and your dreams and goals. At the end of every meeting, ask the person “Who else do you know that you think I should meet?”
- If you don’t like the idea of traditional networking at all, what about joining a club or group that is of personal interest to you? If you like the outdoors, join a hiking club. If you are service-minded, join Rotary or Lions Club or Kiwanis. If your passions are animals or the environment or children, do some volunteer work with organizations that support those causes. You’ll meet like- minded people and probably have a pretty good time!
Remember, networking is the starting point for building relationships which ultimately leads to increased business success and personal happiness. Have realistic expectations about what networking can do for you. If you put yourself out there and are open to opportunities and help others when they need help, chances are good that your positive deeds will be rewarded.
And speaking of networks…
If you are a professional or entrepreneurial woman who is struggling to balance your roles in work and in life (who isn’t?!), it’s always helpful to build friendships with other women who are in the same boat! Check out my new virtual coaching program here à RevitalizeU: 8 Weeks to Revitalization! And please feel free to email me if you have any questions at all! We start at the end of September.
Revitalization Tip: Take stock of your current networking practices. What’s working for you? What’s not? What’s missing? What can you do differently? Try making one or two intentional changes in the next month and see what exciting things happen. Tell me about it.
Here's to Networking!