“I’m just not good at that cocktail party networking. I’d much rather network with a purpose.”
That’s what a client said to me this morning when we were discussing an event she could attend where she is very likely to meet her dream prospects.
I love the idea of “networking with a purpose.” Indeed, that’s how we should all be networking.
What is your purpose? Not, what is your deep down purpose?
But do you have a clear idea of what you’re trying to learn or accomplish at each networking event.
It could be as simple as, “I’m trying to get an answer to this question: Is this market viable?” (Or fill in the blank with whatever you’re trying to find out.)
This is doubly helpful because strong networkers are looking for ways to give and help and they will ask you point blank, “What are you looking for? What can I help you with?” And if you can’t answer that question, you’ve missed an opportunity. (I know because that happened to me last night.)
Or if your elevator pitch is lame (probably because you haven’t worked on it enough), your sole purpose could be to get feedback on it from the people you meet. And I do mean this literally.
You could preface each introduction with, “I’m working on my elevator pitch and looking for feedback — tell me if it’s clear.”
So if you hate networking and therefore do it with a bad attitude, just to say you did it, don’t bother.
You will waste an excellent opportunity, money and precious time in your short life. Instead, try doing it with a purpose, and see if that makes a difference. It really does take practice.
*Networking event, courtesy, Shutterstock.