Scott Radcliffe's Thoughts
Networking, you be brave and then we can both be scared.
There is definitely a knack to networking. For many people it is their first venture into the world of sales and honestly, they are terrified. Terrified of the unfamiliar faces in a room full of people they do not know. Terrified of saying the wrong thing if asked a question. The entire experience can be classified in one word; terrifying.
Many people will say that the key to networking is the follow-up and those people are correct. Without a solid consistent follow-up strategy, networking can be just a waste of time. But, I would say that networking is more than just the precursor to a good follow-up strategy. Networking is by itself a very solid marketing strategy. Being visible consistently and being seen as a friendly face, is a very strong branding strategy. Maybe it’s just me ( being 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighing a lot more than average ) but being recognizable is a brand attribute. Once again, being unique is not also a visible trait or characteristic.
There is a very old saying that [ if you are not unique, then you are easily forgotten ] and that too is true. To me, the key to networking is to stand out, rise above and be memorable. This is not to say that you have to be visually recognizable ( although, I do fit the bill and love it ). But, it is an endorsement of character above all else. What I am suggesting is that you, as the individual representing the product or service must be memorable. That should be your character goal. What makes you memorable? How about; the ability to listen or the ability to place others above yourself. What about a specific strategy of encouraging others to share their story before you tell your story about your last adventure? What about a strategy of asking more personal questions than personal stories you share? These are the things that I believe will make you memorable.
I will see you at the next networking event, and don’t be too intimidated by my size to come say hi. I was once ( only once ) just as scared as you are.