Networking Skills

A Different Bend From Kurt…

We live in an interconnected world with the internet. People can send a message and get an instant connection. Because of this, it seems that traditional networking has gone by the wayside. However, nothing could be further from the truth. People are normally attached to me through the Mañana No Mas! efforts and see a digital connector, possibly assuming it is my preferred way to communicate. On the contrary, I love personal interaction. This is networking.

Social media is a great avenue for people to exchange ideas and meet new contacts. But, it never will have the same power as a face-to-face meetup with someone. Communication is at its strongest when two people can see each other. People learn more about others in a few seconds of in-person contact than they ever could with a strictly online one. if we look at one of my largest projects – the Powersport Academy – the obstacle is not having the best content, but rather a continued relationship with the client. Many Dealer owners voice that they would prefer a personal, physical visit. However, we built the program to meet budgets and get people to a minimum level prior to the physical training.

https://powersportacademy.com

Another point to remember is that online people may not be who they say they are. Think about how easy it is to create an online persona. People are capable of being anyone they want online. That means the connections you make could be phony, which won’t help you when asking people to help you.  Networking is about engaging with others and a certain give-and-take involved in the exchange.

Online connections do have their place. In fact, if I had to articulate my preferred method of networking, I would say a hybrid example. They can be a great starting point in the networking hierarchy of events. They can be a great way to hook up with people who you would never have using traditional means. However, as specified, you need to take the exchange further and try to arrange an in-person meeting – where possible. The contact gives people confirmation that the people you connected with are real. It’s the reason why people often use the phrase, “it’s nice to put a face with the name.” People are also more agreeable in person.

If you don’t believe that in-person meetups are important, ask yourself how many online-only connections have become your friends, real friends. I’m talking – there is a family emergency and you need help kind of friend. It’s likely to be a small number and even more likely to be none. While you won’t become friends with everyone you meet face-to-face, the number will most likely be larger than online-only connections.

It’s not practical to meet face-to-face with every person you connect with online. Some people live far from you. However, people should not treat the internet as the only way to connect with others. A great way to use the internet for networking is to use websites like Meetup.com. You can find people that have similar interests to your own and attend meetings. You can even create meetups yourself if a group doesn’t currently exist on the website.

There is no magic formula for networking, although some techniques may work better than others. Using face-to-face connections is one technique that should yield better results than a purely cyber strategy. What I have found in the last 2-years is that Zoom, Teams, and Meet have made the face-to-face thing online a little more meaningful. Can I take a moment and share with you some of my connection mojo? Let’s use LinkedIn as a sample.

I friend them on LinkedIn which is called a “Connection”. From there I invite them to a quick 15-minute phone call. That is it, just the phone – and a quick call. I get about 10-15 % approval on that. We schedule the call and make it happen. It’s not a sales call… I call them discovery calls. Do I even like this person? I get to find out. If the call goes swimmingly well, I upgrade the request to a 30-minute Zoom Meeting. This is where the face-to-face thing comes into play. During this 30-minute session, decisions can be made. Will we work together, refer each other, or maybe schedule an in-person visit? It may sound like dating a bit, but then again, it kind of is.

Networking to me is growing the circle I can influence. So if I am to title an activity as Networking I need to know how it is directly affecting the number of people I can serve and connect with. If you are new to this idea of networking in general, I would encourage a visit to Vaxpreneur where we are building a community of people new to the entrepreneur concept.

Coming articles in this space will break out ways to network and create awareness. Stay tuned.