How to enjoy networking (Yes, I did say ENJOY it!)

Something light hearted since it's the week before Christmas!  You can use the steps below to enjoy anything - not just networking!.........

I’d created a belief for myself that I couldn't stand networking meetings. So I’ve actively avoided them over the years until I decided that it was time to blow that belief out of the water and discover what I was missing out on. After all, there must be benefits or they wouldn't exist, right?

So here’s what I did:

Used the ‘As if’ frame

From the moment I decided to go to the meeting I acted ‘as if’ I loved networking meetings. So far, surprisingly easier than I thought! I simply said to myself ‘I love networking meetings and people really love me!” and then acted from that position from that moment onwards.

I worked out what was in it for me

So I asked myself, if I am in a room full of complete strangers, what can that get for me? Again, surprisingly easy. I can make new friends. I can observe how other people behave and learn from it. I can practice explaining what it is that I do. I can practice rapport building. I can meet potential collaborators or people who offer something that I need. I might even (dare I say the F Word in this context?) have Fun.

I set myself a little project

I thought about a few things that I wanted to learn about that would genuinely help me. I wanted to learn how other people approach networking and I also wanted to find out how I can write a blog more quickly (it had previously been taking me a couple of hours per blog and I had heard from other people that they spent about 15 minutes!)

So this gave me something to start a conversation about that I was genuinely interested in. I was open about the fact that I wanted to learn what other people get out of networking and asked questions like “What does networking get for you?” This seemed to really get people thinking and also helped me discover other benefits that I hadn't even thought about, for example to pick peoples brains for a new point of view or ask for advice, which I realised is what I was actually doing.

I got some great tips on blogs and how to write them quickly (tell a personal story, write from the heart) and how to make them interesting and get more followers (make them part of a series of instalments, leave open loops in them such as “I’ll tell you more about that later in this blog, but for now…..”

Unexpected bonuses - Light bulbs galore!

I came away from the meeting with a load of fantastic ideas for ChangeGives that I would not have had if I hadn’t been in that room at that time, bouncing off a completely new group of people. But I’ll tell you more about those ideas in another blog……….. (thanks for the tips John!)

Saffron Grant specialises in improving business performance by improving employee wellbeing. She provides resilience trainingexecutive coaching and can help you to create the perfect Employee Wellbeing Strategy for your organisation.

Saffron is the author of ‘A Practical Guide to Employee Wellbeing - How to create your strategy’ which can be downloaded for free here. You can sign up to have her new book ’10 Steps to Resilience - A step by step guide anyone can use’ sent to you as soon as it is released in January 2015.

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