I have just been to one of my meetings and I was watching a visitor who had come along to ELITE : SIX for the 1st time and it inspired me to write this blog!
If you’re not familiar of the structure of our meetings… each person speaks for five minutes about their business while sitting at a table of up to six. Tables are mixed each week, so you get to meet different people. This is a major point of difference with ELITE : SIX compared to other networking groups!
So when we have a newbie I like to let them speak last for two reasons; the 1st is that they get to see that it’s not about pushing your product or service to the others at their table and the other reason is that we don’t want to put them on the spot, as I remember how daunting it was the first time I had to talk for five minutes.
As a full-time networker, you get to be quite intuitive. I could see the newbie was not really listening to the other people, he was fidgeting, not making eye contact with the people talking and I could see he was just waiting for his turn to talk about himself. That may sound mean, however this is pretty normal. It’s why we give people a month of free visits to see if we are the right fit for their business and for us. It also takes time for them to see what we are offering as a Business Networking company.
I was so proud of the other members at the table who spoke before the newbie. No one had a business card, they did not even say what they did for a living, instead they talked about everything else and even talked about the joy they got from watching their 8 year old playing rugby in the weekend. Another spoke about the value of cooking dinner with their family vs getting takeaways. Often newbies interrupt members by asking sorry who are you and what you do? That always puts a smile on my face.
The below 5 Tips I truly believe makes a good business networker and this is why we read OUR MISSION statement every meeting;
- support other members by listening and sharing your experiences, knowledge and skillsOne of our company values is listening. If you listen, you will learn, and let’s be honest, people love to talk about themselves. If you feel you can help someone, why not offer your experience in a caring way? I say to people ‘we all have tools to our trade. When you come to our meetings, share your tools – let’s help others get the job done faster and better’.
- build professional relationships, friendships and synergies with other membersEveryone knows networking is about relationships. If you get pulled up for speeding it would be fair to say you have a relationship with the policeman, however if you had a friendship with them you may get out of the ticket! Friendships are stronger and take longer to develop.Once friendships are built and people know you and your business, well they will stick their neck out for you. They’ll talk to their friends about your products or services and even better you maybe able to form synergies and work together with like-mind businesses. ELITE : SIX is working from a co-work office environment – this is networking on steroids. This is the new now!
- connect the right person with the right opportunity by giving quality recommendationsI always say to people I don’t want ELITE : SIX to be known as a referral company. It’s not about getting, it is about giving! However when you get a referral make sure you look after it!! If I give someone a lead and it gets followed up I will refer again, ladies and gentlemen it’s not rocket science. I also say don’t feel you need to use other members in the group – it is all about connecting the right person for the job. However if you don’t know someone well enough to refer them, get to know them better.
- participate in weekly meetings, collaborate together and invite visitors to our groupThis is an interesting one… have a voice – become part of the group. Give hugs and handshakes, ask questions and listen to the answer. Put your business networking meeting in your calendar and block it out – make it part of your business routine. To be a good networker you need to be regular at meetings – if you come once a fortnight and just hand out your business cards, it will not work for you nor will it work for us.Don’t look for us to bring the visitors – this is your business family and it is nicer to you build your own business family. One lady comes to mind; she has invited 4 businesses that she works with and this is their time! They get together each week and have a mini meeting. This leads to more work for all and they are a very productive group and I love watching it.
- bring a smile and a sense of humour plus a little love to our meetingsBe relaxed! Work on your personal development, practice your engagement with others. I am always working at being a better version of myself. We all need to adjust our thinking sometimes and the way we react to certain things that happen. Currently I go to three Toastmasters clubs each week – it has helped me be a better leader and I feel more confident in my business and personal life. After all I am just a housepainter who left school at 14 and I live with the gift of dyslexia, look mum no hands!Love: we are not a dating agency, however not saying it has not happened! The love we are talking about is brotherly and sisterly love where you look out and care for one another just like you would for a family member. This is the strength of ELITE : SIX – we “Build Business Families”
In conclusion I would like to leave you with what I feel the two biggest misconceptions to business networking!
It’s not about industries. Did you know that hogging your industry limits the growth of your business family? It’s not if you are compatible with all the other members, it’s how you deal with incompatibilities. I’m a true believer in that I don’t have any competition – we work with other business networking companies who share similar values. I remember getting together with four other business networking companies putting on a fundraiser. We raised $10,000 for a needy person, that is what it is all about.
ELITE : SIX‘s most successful group is non industry based. Who the hell came up with the rule only one industry in each group?! This is a total misconception. It is time to think different. ELITE : SIX has been going since 2009 and I do respect that rule. However all new groups are now non industry based.
And the last misconception… people often asked me how many are going to be there? My reply is always the same: just you and me. However I talk to 300-400 people each week! Once I get to know you and understand your business I could become your biggest advertisement. A real-time walking, always talking billboard. Others at our meetings have the same attitude. Quick tip: you never truly know who you are talking to or who they are connected to, it is never about numbers.
P.S. If you like this article, please click “like” or provide comment, as that will motivate me to publish more. Share and inspire. Thank you.