Questioning if attending a networking night is right for you? Perhaps you have, say five questions you’re dying to have answered. Lucky we’re in the bizz of answering all your burning questions, as we caught up with Imposter Syndrome & Confidence Expert, and our next networking night host, Alison Shamir, to get you ready to get the most out of networking.
Why is networking so beneficial?
If you ask any successful person on the planet, they’ll tell you how important their network has been on their journey. Strong networks (whether they be 5 people or 55, because we always go for quality over quantity) are key to building your confidence, fast tracking success and creating meaningful and valuable relationships. They also multiply your reach and impact, because great people know great people. If you nurture and grow your network, it continues to expand which means more wonderful relationships and opportunities for you. Networking is also not tied to personality type, so you can be your authentic self. If you love attending events in person, great. Prefer to stay online via LinkedIn, Facebook Groups, Zoom calls etc – great! There is a networking avenue for everyone, and the benefits are huge.
How can you get the most out of networking nights?
By planning ahead. And this can literally be just 10 minutes of thinking about what you’d like to give to the event/attendees and what you’d ideally like to get back. There is a misconception that you’re not allowed to have a mental agenda at networking events but that’s not true. In fact, you’ll feel more confident if you understand why you’re there, what you can give and some questions you could ask. Then you can confidently stroll in, grab a drink and chat to whomever you like. Ten minutes of thinking ahead doesn’t take away from the spontaneity or the free-flowing conversation and it doesn’t make you less authentic, it’s the opposite, it makes you feel more relaxed.
What advice do you have to people who feel icky talking about themselves?
The Business Chicks community is the safe, fun and supportive environment you’ve been looking for, where you can learn to overcome this feeling. You can practice with all of us because we want to hear about you. In business (regardless of whether you work for yourself or someone else) speaking about yourself, your work, your achievements are incredibly important on your journey to success and for your confidence. Your voice, your story, is uniquely and powerful and we want to hear it. If it makes it easier for you (and that’s ok) have a couple of pre-planned questions to ask the other person, get them talking first. Then it’s only natural they will ask you a question and voila! You can glide into speaking about yourself.
“What if we run out of things to talk about?!”
Ever jumped on the phone with a girlfriend to ask one thing and before you know it it’s been 30 minutes? Well, think of a good networking night like that, it’s rare that you will run out of things to talk about even with people you’ve just met. But to help you prepare just in case, here are two options.
- Perhaps the conversation has run its course and that’s ok. Don’t be afraid to politely exit by saying ‘it was great to speak with you Alison’ and sashay away. People understand because ultimately, we are all there to chat to multiple people.
- Try asking some rapport-building questions that help you discover common ground such as: What brings you here tonight? Do you have any trips planned? What’s been your highlight of the year so far?
What’s one mistake people make walking into a networking night and how can they overcome it?
The belief that they shouldn’t talk about themselves. Networking is meant to be a great exchange of conversation, ideas, time and fun. Like any good relationship you give, and you receive, networking is no different. Take the pressure off yourself, be present and enjoy the moment. And always aim for quality not quantity.
With all that being, we’re confident you’ve got the answers you’ve been searching for and are ready to join us for our next networking night. Our networking nights are more than just canapés, they’re about having wonderful, diverse, real, and relevant business conversations with like-minded women you can connect and collaborate with – all whilst sipping from a delightful cocktail glass. Need we say more?