By Katelyn Massenburg
Networking 101 with "ABC Shark Tanks" Daymond John & How I got in the Room. 7 Valuable Networking Tips
People pay tens of thousands of dollars to hear “Shark Tanks” Daymond John speak at business events and get professional advice, however here I stand with my son talking to him and his staff about his latest book release. All I spent was the time it took for me to help someone else and walk into the event. I call this Networking 101. I'm always out with Texas Wholesale Furniture Co. and Luxury Goods Company looking for genuine Networking opportunities. If you run a business ask yourself “When was the last time you took time out to reach out to another business or individual you thought you could help?” If its not 2 to 3 times per week you may not be Networking often enough to make significant changes and grow your organization.
I Network and I Network often so it leads to meeting people of influence who I can possibly help. “Everyone” and I repeat “Everyone” has to Network to move forward and achieve growth. Whether it’s networking with a supervisor for a promotion or a business attempting to win a new contract I’ve comprised the 7 Tips below that I employ at Networking Events. These 7 Tips have helped me to develop meaningful relationships and win business. Before I go to any event I always say a small prayer asking God to work through me and guide my actions and thoughts. Prayer calms me down gets me focused and prepares me for a Grand Entrance.
- Go to Networking Events with the intention to listen to others and help them grow. You will make more connections listening and helping others than you will by pushing your own initiative.I was able to meet Daymond John and talk with him briefly because a Business Associate of mine who I’ve helped let me know that I needed to attend a casual book signing event that I had no previous knowledge of. It’s that simple if you genuinely help people they will give you valuable leads and introductions you can use to go places. I was able to speak with Mr. John and his staff at the event. It was a brief encounter but I now have the contact information for his New York office and a face to face introduction which will help when we meet again.
- Try to have meaningful conversations and learn about other businesses and the help they may need. The idea here is to learn from other business leaders and apply some of their strategy to your own business. I remember paying distributors to pass out flyers and the marketing efforts were slow until we found the correct target audience…College Campuses. Flyers worked like a charm there because a college campus is essentially a closed community. Students typically see the same people over and over again every day and Good News spreads like Wild Fire in a Semi-Closed Community like a college campus.
- Collect more business cards than you pass out. Don’t be so eager to pass out your business card at Networking Events. Let others give you their business cards or collect business cards from the people you are genuinely interested in. Don’t be fake or dishonest…people like myself can spot it from a mile away and we RUN!After the event has ended organize the Business Cards of the individuals you’re most interested in and Follow up with a call or email later in the week with your business info. This way you have the individual’s undivided attention.
4.Have Fun. Networking Events should be fun. No pressure. Remember you are there to mingle and engage people who are willing to engage with you. Don’t force it! I’ve tried to force it many times and it always ends uneventful. The lesson learned here is that you’re not going to be loved and engaged by everyone so mingle, be genuine, and you will definitely run into the right people with time and patience. On occasion I take my little boy to Networking events just so he can gain exposure and see what the real world is like. He is well mannered…”like his Father LOL” . In his mind he’s just with dad having fun meeting interesting people.
5. Dress to Impress. You can call it superficial but several studies show that new people or people who have never met you before absolutely judge you by your appearance and body language on the first encounter. Might want to grab tic tacs, gum, and peppermints also. If you’re engaging in conversation you definitely want to keep that breath FRESH. If you take the time to look good and smell good you may receive compliments and those compliments could be the Ice Breaker that gets a mutually beneficial conversation going.
6. Body Language. Google “Body Language” and learn the basics. No slouching. No Closed arms. You want good posture and open stances. Look people in their eyes and speak with confidence. The more you practice this the less nervous you will be. So try to attend 2 or 3 Networking events per week if possible. Pay attention to the individuals in the room that you perceive to be the most confident, take note of the things they do and use what you learn when you go to other Networking Events.
7. Compliment others. There is nothing better than a good genuine compliment. Maybe you like someone’s shoes or dress or sports jacket well…. “SAY IT!” You have to verbalize it and really mean it and that could very well spark a good conversation!