For years I’ve been networking for my band. Everywhere and all the time.
I’m always learning something new and doing more effective networking each time. Same with you?
For example, my trio entertained at a recent NACE meeting in San Francisco (National Association of Catering and Events), and afterwards I had an opportunity for some effective networking.
Everyone attending was involved with producing special events, like weddings or parties. This meeting attracted caterers, event planners, wedding coordinators, and event professionals, like photographers, florists, and musicians.
We all attended to enjoy meeting friends — present colleagues and future clients. Our conversations seemed to focus on “What’s new and interesting with you?” and “How can we work together”. We understand that the better we know each other, the smoother we collaborate and the better we serve our clients.
Focusing on these two topics energized the evening and made our conversations especially productive and our networking effective.
Years ago I learned a great tip for effective networking: It helps to be helpful.
So for me, the meeting began days earlier. Before I arrived, I prepared myself to think about finding ways to work together with everyone I met. As though creating the expectation would make good things happen.
There’s nothing new here. I’m sure we all realize that imagining the goal helps us find whatever we’re looking for.
Now, I doubt that our hopes and dreams, by themselves, actually change the course of events. Instead, I think what’s going on is a matter of preparing our perception.
Setting the stage so we’ll notice something particular in a normally ambiguous situation. For example, I could see a fact that doesn’t otherwise stand out, or discover a hidden opportunity to take some action.
How does this apply to effective networking? Simple: Our conversations are more likely to explore mutual benefits when everyone prepares to ask “How can I help you?”, rather than perhaps imagining “How many people can I meet here?” or “How many business cards can I collect here?”.
Bottom Line: Our networking conversations are more effective when we approach with an attitude of being helpful. How often do YOU ask, “How can I help you?”
Thanks for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas here. Got one or two? I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation -- I'll reply. Promise.
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Meanwhile, the Magnolia Jazz Band entertains at weddings and parties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. If you are ever nearby, you’ll love catching us in action, seeing and hearing us create a great mood.
How can I help you? Call 408-245-9120 or use Robbie@MagnoliaJazz.com. Planning a celebration? Ask about our availability.