— April 25, 2018
Does being a leader mean you have to be an extrovert? Well, think about it. Being an extrovert means you’re outgoing, expressive, sociable and friendly. Hence, being an extrovert would mean you’re naturally able to mingle with people, make new friends, and that you’re great at networking. Does this, however, mean that if you’re an introvert you’re going to have a harder time being sociable and building a network? And if that’s so, does that mean you’re going to be an effective leader? Is that it for your dreams to be a leader? All gone just because you’ve got an introverted personality?
Well, let me tell you it doesn’t take an introvert to build a network. Nor is it automatically something that an extrovert can build. And while there are several ways to go about building networks, what’s fundamentally important to sustain and grow your business exponentially is the need for networking.
Sure, at first it seems like such an effort that you have to make to meet and greet people, muster the courage to initiate a conversation and to present yourself in a likeable way. However, keep in mind why you’re doing all this. If you can keep your eye on the prize, you’ll find networking isn’t as hard or difficult as you once thought it to be.
Here’s why you should start networking if you’re serious about exponentially growing your business.
1. Boost Your Self-Confidence
I get it you’re not comfortable talking to people or striking up a conversation that lasts longer than 60 seconds, however, like everything in life, networking requires practice and patience. It’s not a skill you can learn overnight. The more you invest and try your hand at it, the better and more comfortable you’ll get at it. And with time and persistence you’ll pick up new techniques of breaking the ice.
Remember to be yourself and be natural. Rather than trying to be someone who you can’t recognize in the mirror or find it hard to imitate every day, just be yourself. Just loosen up and stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve. That is, to connect and build a network. You’re not here to make a sales pitch or promote your business and its products or services. You’re here to connect. Stick to networking and let your personality shine.
2. Enhance Your Knowledge
Being in an office with smart people will surely provide you access to a lot of intelligence, however, with time that intelligence stagnates because the people are the same. Through networking, you’ll have the ability to tap into the minds, expertise and knowledge banks of several people who you wouldn’t ordinarily meet. Choosing the events you attend is the key here. If you’re able to find yourself in a room full of like-minded, business people who are either directly or indirectly connected to your industry there’s a good chance you’ll be able to learn a lot from them.
The more people you meet the more knowledge you’ll expose yourself to. With this knowledge you’ll have a better understanding of your business, the marketplace and other aspects that relate to your business. Over time, you’ll be seen as the expert that everyone wants to hover around.
3. Exploit Business Opportunities
If you’re really good at networking you’ll soon build a rapport and trust among the people who know you. This helps create a circle of influence within which people are comfortable with and trust each other. This is where you want to be! Within the circle of influence you’re among a group of leaders who are influential, movers, disruptors and even powerful enough to take your business to the next level.
Networking can provide your business opportunities that are beyond just “knowing” the right people. And even if you don’t actually get business from these influential people, you know get the lead or break you need to propel your business.
4. Being Mentored
Everyone needs a mentor. Just because you’re a leader and entrepreneur doesn’t get you off the hook. Well, unless you think you have nothing more to learn, which I’ll find hard to believe. Networking is a great way to find a mentor or a few masterminds who you can reach out to for guidance. When you’re meeting experts on a regular basis you’ll develop a bond that’s more than just that of an acquaintance. It’s where they share their past challenges with you so that you may react better to the same.
Being mentored isn’t about admitting your failures or shortcomings. It’s about seeking advice from people to avoid the same mistakes and be mindful of pitfalls. Through a strong network you’ll gain insights and benefit from their knowledge, particularly if you’re able to bond deeper with them.
5. Boost Your Personal Brand
Some way, it’s not what you do, it’s who you know. Well, I feel it’s a blend of both. Sure who you know is important, which is why you’re networking to begin with. The relationships you build with help you gain knowledge, connect to the right people to seek business opportunities and even get more business from as well. However, what’s in it for them?
Networking is a two-way street. No one’s going to spare their time for you if you’re not offering any value to them. To do that, you need to create your personal and your business’ value. What can you and your business offer? What’s in it for them to know you and spend time with you. In essence, by networking you’ll be working hard to build a leadership and personal brand that earns you recognition, creates value and draws an audience towards you.
6. Find that Missing Talent
The key to success isn’t in your products or services, it’s in the talent you have around you. Networking is a great way to meet talented, skilled and knowledgeable people. Some of them you’ll seek business opportunities from, some you’ll hold on to as mentors. There will be others, still, who you’ll want to attract and bring onboard your team. You can never have enough talented and skilled people in your team, after all you’re not looking for linear and gradual growth. You want to grow exponentially, hence, you need extraordinary and highly talented people in your company.
When you’re rubbing shoulders with those who matter, you’re sitting on an opportunity to promote your employer brand. This is where you flaunt what a great place to work at your business is. And then, let the talent yearn to be a part of your winning team.
When you’re networking you’re tapping into the power of making quality connections that can grow your business exponentially. Don’t hold back. Make networking an essential part of your leadership goal.