Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Overcome Your Fear of Networking

The following post is from Chirag Shah M’17, co-founder of Rapidocc a 2016 SVP Wellesley business.

Kim Miles at Summer Venture Program Wellesley

Kim Miles at Summer Venture Program Wellesley

Networking may be seamless or challenging for you, but whatever it is, we all can attest to its power. For instance, according to Kim Miles, Founder of Miles In Heels Productions, effective networking got her to where she is.  A financial advisor by trade, Miles has an incredible knack for networking. As she built her book of business, she was asked by other advisors to share her knowledge. After various discussions, Kim founded Miles in Heels Productions, a company focused on teaching business professionals how to become valuable nodes of connection, and hence build their networks. In this post, I’ll share a few key lessons Kim taught us as we foray into the world of entrepreneurship.

Start with The Basics

Have you ever found it difficult to enter into conversations? Or simply, unsure as to how to start a conversation? The solution to these problems is simple – smile, introduce yourself, and shake hands firmly. By doing so, you’ll be establishing yourself and breaking the ice. After introducing yourself and establishing authority, begin listening. Not only to the content being shared, but the non-verbal communication as well. When you interject your comments or opinions, you’ll be better received as you’ve considered everything stated.

Move Forward with Intention

Most of us think that a networking session means getting as many business cards as possible. Based on our social media profiles or friend circles, more seems to better. In the case of networking, it’s the complete opposite. A few great connections is significantly better than many average connections. That being said, Kim emphasizes that we all network with intention. To do so, find out who’s going to your event, do some research on who you want to speak to, then approach them confidently with what you know. You’ll turn a cold lead into a warm one, which could be the difference between a meaningful, long-lasting business relationship and just another person you met at a gathering.

Be Politely Persistent

Always remember, we’re all busy. When someone doesn’t respond immediately, don’t take it personally. Many times, the person is probably caught up with familial or other professional obligations. This rule will save you from becoming embittered and instead lead you empathize and understand that being in business is tough. Keep following up and attempting, even if it takes five or six times.

Provide Value

After you’ve made a connection, try to find ways to provide value to them by introducing them to other connections or sharing some relevant content. Become a source of value, instead of a simple needy node. Over time your relationship will blossom, and your reputation will be shared with others.

Networking is tough, but applying even one of these concepts, you’ll be moving to better business relationships. As we all know, people do business with those people that they trust and like. Become that person and your prospects for success will amplify.