There is a Zen mindfulness phrase that I like to share with my clients when they try to avoid difficult or uncomfortable situations: “Wherever you go, there you are.” This profound statement applies just as much to your professional endeavors as it does to your personal affairs; we’ve all heard that people will only do business with someone they know, like, and trust. Networking is defined as the act of making contact and exchanging information with other people, groups, and institutions to develop mutually beneficial relationships for the purpose of business or career advancement.
For this outcome to be accomplished, you must be responsible for the energy you are bringing into a room and the impact it will have on the people you interact with. Charisma is not a divine ethereal quality that you can only be born with; it is a compelling charm that can inspire devotion in others simply through your authentic presence. It is also knowing that you bring tremendous value to the table and that a connection with you will result in a win/win situation every time.
Over the last 10 years, I have attended and hosted countless networking events. During that time I have cultivated a massive network of associates from all industries; many of whom I have been fortunate to do business with or perfectly match with others among my contacts to create some highly impactful projects.
A lot of the networking tools I share in my coaching programs and public speaking trainings are more about being than doing:
- Keep Your Space Clean
Having unresolved disagreements, unfulfilled commitments and unflattering inner-dialogue will not allow you to be fully present. This will block you from connecting with valuable contacts or, worse, will attract people from a lower energetic vibration than those you would want to have in your network.
- Intention Without Attachment
Have a clear vision of one thing you look forward to contributing at this event, and one thing you would love to walk away with. Be flexible and keen to energies that may be pulling you toward other possibilities. I believe the universe will always give us one out of these three answers to our requests: 1) Yes, 2) Not now, 3) I’ve got something better for you.
- Know Your Audience
Be prepared. Do some research on the hosts, sponsors, speakers, and invited guests. It will make a great impression and will also give you an edge on specific requests, contributions, or suggestions you can make.
As entrepreneurs, we wear many hats. Choose one business or product to focus on for each event you plan to attend and have a clear powerful message ready to share.
- Be The Lighthouse
This is about owning your space, shining brightly, and drawing the right people toward you rather than “working the room.” Let others work the room around you! Confident body language, a natural smile, comforting eye contact, and a genuine compliment will truly engage people and make an unforgettable impression.
Don’t get burned out going to endless networking events. Be strategic and selective.
Don’t be a card collector! It’s quality vs quantity and nothing happens unless you follow up!
Don’t miss opportunities. Some of my best connections have happened by me actually being in the right place at the right time; and of course, in the right space. I’ve met valuable contacts in elevators, ladies’ rooms, planes, trains, and even at the supermarket! So always have a business card, always be presentable, but most importantly, always be present and aware of your energetic space.
Dawn Diaz (www.DawnDiaz.com) is a speaker, author, and corporate trainer; the CEO of Rescue Coaching Institute; the founder of Milagros Day Worldwide (www.MilagrosDay.org); and a retired FDNY paramedic/captain.