Networking Excuses Are Getting You Nowhere – Guest Post by Bryn Johnson

October 3, 2011 by  

(Personal Soul Language(s): AT: Problem Solver)

Just imagine I call you on the phone right now and say, “There’s a fabulous networking event in 2 hours and I want to bring you along”.  What races through your mind?

  • Excuses, lots and lots of excuses!
  • Jiminy Cricket on your shoulder with conflicting advice – “Say no- you are too busy “ v.  “This is a good opportunity and how bad could it be? Bryn will be there with you to make introductions.”
  • It might rain tonight, right? I hate going out in the rain. Maybe next time.
  • A frantic mental search for the right “networking outfit” (are those pants back from the cleaners?) and extra business cards

Are you laughing right now?

Or are you secretly a little worried someone you know will really call you shortly with that invitation?

A few things to think about when it comes to being ready for impromptu or planned networking events:

  • Every excuse is your defense mechanism. Every excuse is fear talking. Stop and think what is on the other side of that fear. For example, I think, “I am just too busy to go to that networking event”- what is really happening: the anxiety of my business and personal pressures are getting the best of me. I have to laugh! My business is based on people. Not on sitting at my computer or reorganizing my filing or writing another blog post. People. I need to embrace every opportunity to meet with people and talk about my business. But still I lead with the excuses.
  • I promise you that my best connecting does not happen in an uncomfortable “networking outfit” with a canned elevator pitch, a stack of business cards and a mission to tell everyone all about my business and ask how they can help me- like a machine gun in the room.
  • Whether you are a small business owner, a job seeker, a community leader, or an engaged employee, you are a person looking to expand your circle of influence.  Bringing a “networking persona” (who I think I “should” be) to an event instead of yourself (passionate, interesting, accomplished and real!) will not only connect you to the wrong people, but will create a much more likely chance of you having a miserable time.
  • Take off the costume! Start connecting as yourself. Wear an appropriate yet comfortable outfit that expresses how you want to be seen by others.  Use a Connection Strategy to begin thinking about what small group of people you will want to speak to first when you arrive. Know how to explain who you are and what you need- knowing that you will not lead with that.  You will lead with a question or greeting direct to the other person.

I encourage you to lead every conversation asking questions about the other person! This really works and it feels so much more genuine for everyone involved. All my clients love this tip, but it takes practice!

Bryn spent 20 years in Corporate America as a passionate leader of high-performing teams and endless multi-million dollar projects.

ONE of her many secrets for success? Her ability to take complicated, often impossibly overwhelming information, and to quickly make it simple and fun.

She is now bringing that same passion for planning and collaboration, along with her laser-focused implementation strategies, to her clients and broader online community.

And if you really want to have some fun- just discuss networking, business building, social media, coffee and Post-It notes with her… she’ll talk your ear off!


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