When you master the art of networking, you cannot just get your brand an instant business boost. As you network, you will build connections and find mentors who went before you. The best way to master the art of networking is to embrace the spirit of the company. The goal is not just to fill your own pockets, but to team up with other small business owners and strengthen each other.
Your personal brand is how others perceive you. You can only control so much of the narrative, yes, but networking is an excellent place to start. What do people say when they talk about your company? Here’s how to tap into your industry and local communities, and connect with key stakeholders so you can learn more about the narrative.
1. Know your voice
Before worrying about how others see you, you need to understand the picture you are presenting to the world. What are your most important principles as a company? Are there any reasons that interest you? Is your voice serious or light-hearted? Take the time to write who you are.
2. Create an elevator speech
As you learn new connections, prepare a one-minute elevator gap. For example, when you step into an elevator or local bar and run into a local newscaster, are you ready to share your activity? The opportunity is often about timing, but you have to do it Prepare to capture these moments.
You need to be clear about why you are better than your competitors. Why should an influencer help you? A mentor needs to see what is in the relationship for them. Think about any type of person you might meet and what you would say to them. Repeat the words over and over again.
3. Join organizations
It’s much easier to get connected when you are in the places where your ideal network partners spend their time. If you’re looking for a specific mentor, go to restaurants that they visit frequently, spend the day golfing where they are, and join the same groups.
Your local Chamber of Commerce is an excellent resource. You will meet like-minded business owners and search their brains for ideas.
Join industry groups and attend conferences and trade shows. The best place to meet people is usually not in a workshop. It is located in the bars and restaurants of the venue. It is at dinner in the evening that people talk and chat while they wait for the speaker.
4. Mastering the art of networking means staying authentic
When you meet different people and talk about your brand, it can be tempting to tailor your description to suit their needs. Instead, make it a hard and fast rule Stay true to who you are and the vision of your personal brand.
studies show 86% of consumers cite authenticity as critical to their brand connection. If you stay consistent, you will be reliable and trustworthy. Once you have defined who you are and what voice you have, it is easier to stick to.
5. Promote your brand with others
When you find a few like-minded companies, consider cross-promotion efforts. For example, can you run a special where customers get a discount for shopping in both stores, buy a package, or otherwise benefit from frequent use of both brands?
An example could be a personal coach and home organization specialist. If the life coach has a disorganized client, they can recommend the specialist to get back on track and vice versa.
6. Dedicate yourself to a cause
What are you most interested in? Part of your personal branding likely involves running a charity or trying to make the world a better place. Find out what fits your brand. For example, if you are an artist, you may want to support young people and help them develop a passion for the arts.
Volunteering with a local charity committed to your cause. While you shouldn’t be helping just to get credit, many places will mention their volunteers and make use of the brand. Accept this benefit as part of your hard work and personal branding building.
Stay alert to opportunities
Networking is about seizing opportunities when they get in your way. Try to speak to each person you meet and tell them what you are doing. Attend meetings and join organizations that make the most sense for your brand. You never know when you might meet the perfect mentor or marketing partner. Share your heart, passions and business with each individual and be open to cooperation offers.