Steven David Elliot, Chief Visionary Officer, Rockstar Connect
Traditionally people think of networking as a way to meet people from their own or other industries, to pass referrals, and establish relationships. It is certainly all the above, but in the age of social media live networking events can be used for branding. In the past when you went to a networking event, only the people in attendance were aware that you were networking. With the advent of Facebook, LinkedIn, meetup, Instagram and others, thousands of people can easily be aware that you are a connector and all that entails.
A good connector certainly has a large Rolodex (or whatever you want to call today), but they also are helpers. Rather than just collecting business cards, they are creating purposeful relationships. When they are meeting people at business networking events they are determining who they can connect to one another with mindfulness.
Not only do they interact with people that can give them direct referrals, they should interact with those that can give an indirect referral somewhere down the line. The goal being to establish your brand as a networking rock star who gives in order to get. Someone who is altruistic, and who helps all ships rise together.
This can occur by being a good attendee at an event. Contact the organizer before the event in order to find out what their needs are and how you can help them. The host or organizer of a networking event has the ability to elevate your status at the event. Therefore, for the cost of an email or a phone call you can stand out at the event.
Keep in mind that many people are anxious and nervous when they are networking. You are not the only one. Many people feel when they attend a networking event that it is similar to going to a high school dance without a date. You are looking for someone to dance with, but their dance cards appear to be full. Other people socializing together may look like they’re in a clique.
If you are aware that most people that go to the event are as apprehensive as you are, you can look at the entire event through a different lens. This will enable you to approach strangers with more confidence and understand that they may have the same weaknesses that you have and that they are grateful that you would have made the effort to connect with them.
If you would like to turn the paradigm on its head, and become the pretty girl at the dance that everyone wants to dance with, you should think about hosting your own networking event. No longer do you have to scan the room to find people to connect with. They instead view you as the leader of the group, you are a focal point, and you created a venue in which everyone at the event will attempt to meet you.
Further you were establishing a brand as a benefactor of your local business community. Essentially you are the local celebrity, mover and shaker, and rock star. Although only a tiny percentage of the people in your area may attend your event, by leveraging your social media thousands will know your brand, and speak highly of you.
Regardless of whether you decide to be an attendee or an event organizer, recognize that you are now your brand incarnate. Comport yourself at these events and in social media in the way you want your brand to be perceived. Your mantra should be “I am a person that helps others, I am not selfish and I am open to opportunity.”
About the Author
Steven David Elliot is the Chief Visionary Officer of Rockstar Connect. Steven created the Rockstar Connect program through years of experimentation and implementation. His networking events are legendary and he is nationally known for his innovation in the field of Business Networking. His Meetup North Hills Networking has been recognized as one of the “most successful and active in the world”, boasting 20,000 members. As a realtor, sales person, connector, coach, and marketing guru he has harnessed his ability to find options and solutions, limit them to the best, and help his clients select the outcomes to achieve their goals.