The Content Jedi Blog

subscribe to RSS feeds

« back to all blogs

5 Networking Tips from a Convert

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

I used to be a networking tool. By tool, I don’t mean catalyst; I mean schmo, dinkus, et al. 
I believed that you networked because you needed a new job, and therefore, I felt like I was imposing and bothering people. You know what? I was. That all changed when I started my business, joined networking groups, and absorbed guidance from networking veterans. I’ve learned a thing or five that I’d like to share with you. 
Join an Organization 
In May of 2017, I published my website and sent a mass email announcing the launch of David Telisman Communications. I clicked send and thought, “I’ve arrived!” Except I didn’t because my network was bone-dry. Luckily a friend called and recommended I join my local chamber of commerce, the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce. This is a prideful plug because joining has been the most important decision I’ve made as a business owner. That begat memberships to more networking organizations. Most groups allow you to attend a couple events as a guest, which will give you a good feel if it’s the right fit. But signing up is only the first step. 
Show Up
Having your business name and contact information listed in an organization’s directory won’t get you very far unless you get involved. That means showing up. A good networking group has multiple monthly events for you to see and be seen. When you attend breakfasts, luncheons, and after hours-events, you meet more people and enhance your visibility. Pro tip: when considering an organization, visit the events page on the website to see how active the group is. If white space dominates the calendar, it’s not worth your time. 
Ask How You can Help 
Helping others is crucial for developing your networking sealegs. When you meet for coffee or speak on the phone, learn as much about the person as possible. Get an overview of their business and ask questions like, “What problems are you solving for your customers?’ and “Why do you do what you do?” Showing a genuine interest in someone makes an impact. Plus, everyone has a story, and stories are often interesting. Always ask how you can help the person before the meeting ends. “Who are good referrals?” “Are you interested in attending a networking event as my guest?” This meeting is not the time to sell unless the person expresses a need for your services. 
Give Give Give 
Volunteer your time and services. I serve on the Annual Golf Outing Committee for the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce, and I don’t even golf. (The last time I swung a club, the ball ricocheted off a nearby tree and almost found a permanent home in my forehead. True story.) The bigger picture is that I help organize the event which deepens my relationships with other committee members. Don’t hesitate to inquire about volunteer opportunities. I also highly recommend doing pro bono work for causes you support. My friends started a 501 (c) (3) called North Shore Helpers that provides gifts and new merchandise to individuals in under-served communities. They needed website copywriting, and I raised my hand, not to toot my own horn, but because giving back is fulfilling. 

Be Patient
What do we get in return for all this giving and helping? After all, we’re business owners, and we need to eat. I’ve got good news: generosity is currency, and when you build trust and respect, business comes in spades. Just understand that it's not going to happen overnight. That’s the beauty of conscientious networking--it presents business opportunities and builds community, support, advocacy, and friendships.
If you liked this, please follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn



Blog Articles

Blog Archives