Several years ago, I met someone I’ve admired from afar for years. I was on the road for the spring Business Boutique event in 2016, and we had booked someone who I consider to be a mega-celebrity speaker: Christine Caine. I couldn’t believe I was going to meet her in person and share a stage with her. I would have been grateful simply for the privilege of shaking hands, taking pictures, and hanging out with her. It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
But it was even better than that. We became friends in real life. The following year, she even invited me to speak on her conference tour, Propel Women. Of course, I agreed. We traveled around the country and spoke at six different events.
And this relationship has only continued to grow. She was one of the first people I texted when I found out I was having a baby girl. And she is someone who I continually lean on for mentorship and guidance.
Christine is just one example of the many incredible people I’ve had the privilege of building relationships with through Business Boutique over the last five years. Not only have these connections benefited my personal life, but they’ve also helped my business as well. It’s true what they say: “It’s all about who you know.”
The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of your relationships. The same is true in business. The quality of your business is a direct reflection of the quality of your relationships. Every opportunity that you will ever have in your lifetime will come through people. So regardless of what type of business you’re in, you’re in the people business.
Related: Building Business Relationships
That’s why I want to help you with something that many people find intimidating: networking.
I meet so many women who are terrified of it. They often feel like making new connections is only for outgoing personalities. But I don’t believe that to be true. So today, I want to bust three myths we believe about networking so you can stop believing these lies and take advantage of all it has to offer.
When you think about networking, you probably picture talking to strangers at a formal event and a lot of awkward interactions. It’s no wonder you want no part of it!
But do you know what networking really is? Meeting people and making connections. That’s it. It’s really that simple. And you can build relationships with people anywhere and at any time. I’d be willing to bet you’re already doing this every single day.
As women, we’re naturally relational and enjoy connecting with new people. It’s what we do. You don’t need to have a pitch or an agenda or be in a formal setting to meet someone new. Stop thinking about networking as anything more than making a new friend.
Related: 4 Friends You Need for Your Business
Introverts might experience more anxiety when walking into a roomful of people, but they actually have the advantage. Why? Because introverts are gifted at connecting one-on-one and building deep, quality relationships. They may not want to work the room or be the life of the party, but they’re going to walk out of there with at least one real connection.
Here’s a tip for you introverts: Start small. Scan the room and see if you can find just one person who looks inviting (bonus points if they’re also alone). Walk up to them and introduce yourself. I guarantee that anyone in that room who is standing by themselves will welcome a friendly face because they’re probably feeling exactly how you are.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to only be in-person. You can make connections online. For introverts, it’s a great way to get out of your shell and get some practice under your belt.
We all have this fear that people will think we have an agenda or we’re going to take advantage of them when we’re networking. It’s the same reason we feel weird about selling. But there’s a tried and true way to get over this: Focus on what you can give, not on what you can get.
Here’s what’s so beautiful about this idea: It will help you in business, marketing, speaking, life and networking. Basically, it will help you everywhere. I want you to approach everything in your life by focusing on what you can give. I guarantee the person on the other side of the conversation will feel the difference.
Related: How to Sell Without Feeling Slimy
When you walk into a trade show or event, don’t walk in there thinking, How can I get a business card or a new client or a referral? Instead, think about how you can provide solutions and real value. When you have that mindset, I’m willing to bet you’ll get more than you can imagine in return.
Remember, people buy from those they know, like and trust. So just focus on the relationship. Business can happen later. Because, at the end of the day, networking is just a fancy word for making new friends who can play a role in building your dream and your business.
Ken Coleman is an expert when it comes to making the right connections in life and in business. He went from having zero experience or education in broadcasting to become nationally known by strategically positioning himself in proximity to the right people. Today, Ken is the host of The Ken Coleman Show and The EntreLeadership Podcast. He’s also the author of One Question and the brand-new book The Proximity Principle: The Proven Strategy That Will Lead to the Career You Love.
Ken’s work is centered around helping people figure out what they’re passionate about so they can move into a life and career they love—just like he did.
In this episode, Ken and I talk about:
Many of you may already know, but I am expecting my third child (a baby girl!) in September. So, of course, I’ve been thinking a lot about being a mom and the qualities I want my children to have. I often think, What do I want for my children? Who do I want them to be? What prayers should I pray for them?
For as long as I can remember, there has been one particular quality that I have wanted above all others: Confidence. I have seen how it can be a game-changer in your life.
When you’re self-assured, you’ll reach for bigger dreams and write scarier goals. You’ll ask for more and assume you’re capable of doing whatever it is you want to do. You’ll withstand peer pressure (even in adulthood), put yourself out there, and take more risks.
Related: How to Be More Confident
Like networking, people tend to think confidence is just for extroverts and the social butterflies. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Confidence is a skill and freely available to anyone
Fear, on the other hand, establishes limits in your life. Nothing will build your confidence like pushing beyond your comfort zone, trying something new, going after what you’re afraid of, and realizing you are capable of far more than you imagined.
Friends, don’t stay stuck feeling like your fears will always rule you. Confidence is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Over time, it will become authentic. Don’t wait until you’re not scared to do the thing you want to do. Work on cultivating confidence in your own life and then go do it scared.
1:21 Three Myths We Believe About Networking
14:21 How to Make the Right Connections with Ken Coleman
50:55 Encouragement to Cultivate Confidence in Your Life
The Proximity Principle by Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman's new book, The Proximity Principle: The Proven Strategy That Will Lead to the Career You Love, gives you a proven plan that will lead you to more opportunities than you’ve ever seen before. And it's available now! Use the code BBPROXIMITY at checkout to receive a bonus Business Boutique podcast episode with Ken Coleman where we talk about the 5 Steps to Living a Life of Significance. Order The Proximity Principle today at KenColeman.com.
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