It’s the old saying of ‘It’s not what you know… it’s who you know!’ We’ve all heard that one before, right? Right! Networking online and offline is so super important for everyone… but it’s even more important when you’re a bliss follower, when you’re chasing your dream and trying to make it happen!
You can do great work but if no one knows about it or sees it… then well, how do you turn it in to a successful running business? Glad you asked! With our background in Communication and Events, networking came second nature to us so we embraced it even more so when we created The Merrymaker Sisters. It wasn’t until we received an email from one of our readers asking us how we do what we do? One of the points we shared was that it’s important to network, get to know your peers, followers and colleagues! To which they responded ‘But what if you know no one?!’
Aha! An even BETTER question! And that’s where we welcome today’s blog post: How To Network When You Know No One. We’ve asked some of our business-y friends for their number 1 tips on networking. We are SOOOOO excited to share their knowledge with you… take it all in… because these tips are GOLD when it comes to following your bliss!
We talk through a few of these EPIC networking tips in the below YouTube clip.
ONE: The easiest way to build a network is to get out there. In person. In the online world that we live in, many people get lazy and hide behind their keyboards and Twitter accounts when networking. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING beats being in the presence of other likeminded individuals. Conferences, local events, seminar and workshops. That’s the ‘old school’ way to network, and it’s still the most effective manner of building relationships today! Chris Ducker, www.chrisducker.com
TWO: Find a networking group that is your ‘tribe’ like minded people with goals, spirit, and values similar to yours- it doesn’t have to be your industry group- just your tribe. Then before you know it you will be in a friendship group, not a ‘networking’ group. Michele Chevelley Hedge, Founder Low Sugar Lifestyle.
THREE: Jump on Google, research ‘Womens Networking Events’ in your city, and don’t be shy! Get out there like it’s speed dating! Colly Galbiati, Managing Director Soma Organics.
FOUR: Dip your toe in by attending some smaller networking events, where like-minded entrepreneurs who share similar paths to you will be. You have to want to be there, otherwise your energy will repel rather than attract conversation. Tell yourself you can always leave if it’s that bad. It never will be. Arrive a little early and become familiar with your surroundings. It’s easier to face a few people rather than a sea of people who are all deep in conversation with each other. Aim to have memorable meaningful conversations with two or three people rather than pleasantries with several who you will never remember. Helen Roe, Business Success Coach
FIVE: Tap in to event hashtags whether you’re at the event or not – this gives you a window of time which heightens your chance of connecting to others in a more meaningful manner. Alison Morgan, Founder Relauncher
SIX: Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with others – what you share will come back to help and support you ten-fold. Nikki Parkinson, Managing Editor Styling You
SEVEN: Join networking groups where you pay a small fee to be a member and are invited once a month to a cocktail event to ‘schmooze’ with other businesses. Plus, networking can be as simple as striking up a conversation with the local barista/shop keeper. You never know who they are or who they know that may need your services. Chelsea Van Zyl, Founder White Rhino Property
EIGHT: Networking is all about finding the right value to put out there for other people, so find ways to support or collaborate to a common end and everyone in your network will do the same right back at you! Leon Wurfel, Founder Optimoz
NINE: Always having a business card handy makes it much easier to stay in contact with people you meet. Always follow up with an email! People meet people all the time and nothing ever comes of it, shooting across an email the day after you meet reinforces exactly who you are and why you need to stay in contact to the new contact. Plus so few people actually do it so it’s a great second impression to follow up the great first impression you gave the day before. Sam Beattie, Ogilvy PR
TEN: Knowing no one has an advantage as it is an opportunity to freely meet new people. When I have attended conferences overseas on my own, I have made the commitment to myself to speak to every person I sit or stand next to. I have a couple of go to questions lined up and use them as appropriate. Having prepared questions make me feel more confident in initiating conversation. Nicole Avery, Planning With Kids.
ELEVEN: Start by networking online, in particular instagram and research the people you want to network with, follow them and engage with them through their posts, it is then easier to take the conversation offline and ask to meet up to learn more about what they do, you will be surprised how easy it is to build a relationship with someone when you have a genuine interest in what they do, so make sure there is purpose and substance to your networking. Keri Kitay, Founder Kitay Agency
TWELVE: Networking is the biggest key to any business growth. It’s so hard to put it in one sentence but I’d say – be genuine – always think about what you can do to help the other person rather than what they can do for you. Christina Butcher, Founder Romance Media
THIRTEEN: Establish a strong, friendly online presence and use it to make friends with EVERYONE. Bob Montgomery, Founder, Not So Fast
FOURTEEN: Events are a great place to make connections, especially if it’s in your niche. Do some research before you go of who will be attending and when you see them at the event, don’t be shy – go up to them and work it “Hi, I just love your new book, I’m Gina from…” If you’re networking via email make your subject line appealing – “Free publicity opportunity” is one I found gets a lot of opens and was a way of getting my foot in the door with top designers when I knew no one! Gina Ciancio, Editor Style Curator
FIFTEEN: Put yourself out there and get in the game. By this I mean, make sure you attend events you’re invited to (and get invites to ones you’re not!), say hello to people in the crowd (even randoms – no, especially randoms! Gasp!), and ask questions – lot’s of questions. Be genuine. Smile – Being friendly, open and honest is vital to starting and growing relationships. People can tell pretty easily if you’re genuine or not and if you’re passionate about what you do / want to do. You’ll find that people are always willing to help those who have a genuine passion for what they do. Georgie Reed, Communications, Smiling Mind.
SIXTEEN: Realise that there is not a single human being in this world that is more special than you. You may be afraid to reach out to *insert amazing person here* because you think that they are ‘above’ you yet the fact of that matter is, they are NOT. I was able to get Tim Ferris’ attention with Twitter so consider utilising, um, Twitter. Todd Dosenberry, Founder The Traveling Toad.
We’ll end this post with our Merrymaker Number One Tip! And that is… to HAVE FUN! Don’t dread networking, turn it in to something you love! And that will only happen if you go out there and do it. It’s a little bit of: SCREW IT! JUST DO IT! Yeah!
Emma + Carla