She is one of the most “networking-ist” person I have ever met, naturally I would have her share her tips on how you can network better.
“Your net worth is determined by your network.”Not quite sure who said this first; but it has proven true in many cases. Regardless of what industry you are in; corporate America, film & television, music & entertainment, travel, insurance-you will have to develop a network of clients, affiliates, and associates. The question is: how do you develop such an imperative tool? Honestly, there is no rulebook or instructional guide for networking; but there are many concepts to assist one in polishing this skill. My intent is not to “teach” you how to network-but give examples of what has worked for me in my eight years in the music and entertainment industry. In turn, I hope you apply this knowledge with your personality and customize it to maximize your potential.
“Put your best face forward! You only get ONE chance for a FIRST impression!”
The most important tool for networking is also the most simple: SMILE! It never ceases to amaze me how far this small gesture can take me. One smile can open a potential business lead or draw in a client. Moreover, smiling portrays approachability, trustworthiness, vulnerability, and a positive energy. These traits are necessary in any business setting and can often be determined in the first five seconds of meeting someone-the same amount of time it takes to use the muscles in your face to curl your mouth upwards. Additionally, appearance is the first thing people take notice of when they first meet. I’m not suggesting that you wear a suit and tie or dress and pumps everywhere you go; but every time you step outside your home you are embarking on a networking journey.
“Follow up and follow through.”
Once initial contact is established, you must follow up the same day, next day, or no later than the end of that week. This serves as a reminder of who you are, where you met, and what services you can provide. Otherwise, people will forget about you and hire someone else!
“You are your biggest asset; utilize all your strengths and address your weaknesses.”
Be honest with yourself! If you are a good writer, then practice writing essays, press releases, ratings and reviews. If you are a creative visionary, then draw constantly, work with graphics, and harness your skill. If you are not as strong of an artist or writer-then hire someone that is; then polish your skills outside of whatever projects you are working on.
“Business cards are optional!”
In eight years of working in the entertainment industry, I have never used business cards to promote my business. However, if someone willingly gives me theirs, I keep the card, store the information, and archive the card for future use. Whatever your approach to marketing; word of mouth, website, email blasts, remember your “Face card” will outweigh a business card every time.
“Everyone knows somebody that knows you!”
Your reputation will always arrive before you even meet the client. Sometimes you may never physically meet your clientelle, but your name and work ethic will be researched. The manner in which you’ve performed in previous assignments will determine whether or not you are considered for future projects.
“Expel negativity, exemplify positivity, and explore the balance.”
Your attitude determines your altitude; so don’t handicap your potential because you’re a sourpuss. Often times, employers, clients, or contacts look for out-going, personable people to include in money-making deals. If you portray an immature, unprofessional, or indecent disposition-you will be excused from the closing table. “Exploring the balance” simply means knowing that negative energy exists and infects everyone at some point of life. However, you control your reaction to these situations and your positivity could bring the stressor to a minimal level.
“Education extends beyond the classroom. Life has the best lessons and many times there will be practical assessments.”
Being well-versed in a plethora of topics can be the difference between securing a client and losing an asset. Also, using off-topic subjects as an icebreaker relaxes business people; making them comfortable enough to talk about their company, industry, and how you could be included. ALWAYS AVOID RELIGION, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, POLITICS, AND FAMILY! These are the most sensitive subjects and a disagreement could demolish your chances of being hired for any collaboration.
Remember, your personality is the quintessential element in all networking. Be true to yourself, have integrity, and be honest; people will take notice! Have fun and grow your potential wealth!
“Networking is an essential part of building wealth.”