Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are You "Networking!!" or "Netwatching??"

Photo taken by: Photographer Unknown
 Me at ABC's Southern New Jersey networking event taken place at DFX Sound Vision!
(I'm wearing the big yellow bag and orange skirt :-D)

I love networking! I love to network! But for those that don't and maybe those that do you may or may not know what it actually is. Networking in my book can be defined as stepping out of your comfort zone to get to know another person with the goal of doing business in the future. Again this is just my definition...if you would like a more defined one, Please Click Here! This post is related to networking events vs one-on-one networking meetings.

Now when attending a networking event for the first time it can be scary! (I know from experience) It is recommend that you bring someone with you (well my recommendation) so that you are more comfortable maneuvering around the room. (if you don't know how to "maneuver the room" I will provide some tips on a later post!) Whether in a pair or alone it is crucially important that you attempt to say hello to everyone. This hello can be a simple wave & big smile from across the room, it can be a hand shake & big smile making it more personal, or it can mean sitting down at a table and passing out a business card after a few minutes of conversation all while wearing a big smile! As you can see, smiling is important...why?? "Well because you look more charming when you smile and people remember and rather engage with a smiling person who looks friendly then a serious person"
If you are completing this task solo it may take you a little longer, like attending 2 or 3 more networking events longer, but that's okay! Bravery comes in steps so take baby steps if need be. Once you've attended you a few you begin to make friends and that's where the fun begins!! 

Photo taken by: Mogul Photography

My wedding planner colleagues enjoying some cocktails at the I Do Brunch, a relaxing networking event for Wedding Planners! (Amani, Deidre, Sharnell, Me, Stephanie & LaTonya.)
(I had a virgin cocktail..the bartender said I looked like a

Networking is powerful and can lead to many open doors later down the road. However, some people attend networking events and "netwatch". Well what is "netwatching" you ask?? Netwatching is when you watch others network! (it's that simple) Like said before attending these type of events can be scary but you will get nowhere if you come in: go to the bar to grab a drink, find a table and hope that someone will come say hi (which some"one" more than likely will) as you watch the others attending laugh and putting on their brave faces while walking around the room. As a netwatcher you've handed out 0-3 business cards when there is a room full of people and you leave more scared of networking then when you arrived! 

When netwatching you are not stepping out of your comfort zone, instead your more than likely hoping noone comes over to the big empty table (seated for 8 ppl, but it's just you and a large centerpiece) to say hello. Netwatching means that you probably haven't practiced what you would say if someone came over and I am probably sure many networkers don't do this either. None the less, practice makes perfect and makes you more confident! So practice what you want others to know about you and it will make you 100% more confident as you walk into a room full of newbies & professionals who are coming together to network. Mustard up the courage to go from table to table and simply start by introducing yourself and then smile! Smiling makes everyone more relaxed, so always remember to smile and give out your business card!

"As a netwatcher, your watching others get ahead. Don't be a a networker!"

So I don't overwhelm you this will be broken down into a three part series of "Netwatching", "Networking", & "Tips on being a confident networker". This three part series will give you more insight on how to network and not netwatch.

This series starts Friday!! So make sure you check back in so you don't miss anything!! 

Until then ask yourself this question... 
"Am I Networking or Netwatching"??
Share your story below, it just may help someone!