Kevin Eikenberry

Article Summary:

Networking is an important part of helping any business or organization grow. If the thought of networking makes you sweat or you enjoy networking and could use a fresh perspective ?? this article is for you. You will learn one key to maximizing your networking efforts.

Networking Events - Lose the Fear

"Kevin, are you saying I need to go to Networking events? I hope not because I hate them."

No, of course you don't have to go to them. You could stay home or sit in your office. But if you choose to not go, you won't have the chance to learn something, to help others, to get new ideas, maybe generate some new Clients, and yes, meet new people.

"But Kevin, I don't do well at these events, I am too self conscious and besides, you know I am shy."

It is true, some people aren't as outgoing as others, but I highly doubt that anyone reading this is a hermit. We all like to be around people. As for the self conscious part, well, that is what the rest of this article is about. Read on.

I hear all sorts of excuses for not going to networking events:

"I already know all those people." "I have other things to do anyway." "Everyone there is in a clique - I won't have anyone to talk to." "I hate those things." "I get scared." "I don't know what to wear." "I don't know what to say or talk about." ... feel free to add your excuses here.

That's right - they are excuses, or they are based on misinformation about what networking is or can be.

You will have the most fun and gain the most from networking opportunities when you stop worrying about yourself, what you are going to say and what you are going to wear. (Here's a hint, no one really cares what you are wearing, as long as your clothes don't stand out as too casual or too flashy - get dressed and get over it.)

Networking is about forming relationships and forming relationships works best when you remember Dale Carnegie's admonition, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."

Rephrased by Kevin for networking success - be interested, not interesting.

Once you understand that networking events are about meeting and learning about others and their interests and activities, rather than trying to perform (or remember our ever- important 30 second statement of what we do), many of the excuses above go away.

Be interested - ask questions about people's business, how they got involved, what sets them apart, what they love about it. Ask about their perfect Client, their interests and their family. As you listen see what connections you can make for them to help them reach their goals.

By being interested we lessen the fear concerns. By being interested we become less self conscious. By being interested we form relationships.

Being interested means remaining interested and following up with people afterwards. If you promised to get them someone's phone number, the name of that book you are reading, or introduce them to someone, do it right away. You will be seen as a person of your word, but you will reinforce your interest in the other person.

While it may sound paradoxical, by being interested in others, they become more interested in our success and us as well. You will have created a double win - you will gain from the networking experience as much or more than you gave, all because you gave first.

It all starts with being interested. Invest in your success by investing first in others. Try it soon - go to that networking event or cocktail party or social mixer on your calendar. Try my simple rule as a test, even if you aren't completely convinced yet.

I'll be interested to hear your results!

Kevin Eikenberry is an expert in converting organizational, team and individual potential into desired results, and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group. He is the two-time best selling author of "Vantagepoints On Learning And Life" and "Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time." Kevin has spent the last 15 years helping organizations all across North America reach their potential. His specialties include: teams and teamwork, creativity, developing organizational and individual potential, facilitation, training trainers, presentation skills, consulting and the consulting process and more. He offers monthly tele-seminars through a program called the Remarkable Leadership Learning System. Kevin can be reached at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER and through his website, www.kevineikenberry.com.

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