Networking – its about having a conversation with someone.

watercooler -600x400I’ve just returned from my first “Sausages at Dawn” meeting for a few weeks. Its a chance to sit with fellow freelancers and small business entrepreneurs over breakfast (healthy or otherwise) and learn a little more about each of them. Its about listening.

For my quick 40 second introduction I offered a look at Patsy Rodenburg’s Circles of Energy – trying to demonstrate the timid networker in 1st circle, the dominant force in a room in 3rd circle, and the 2nd circle method of connecting with a new colleague.

Even though I teach techniques to make it easier, I still sometimes come away and beat myself up for a second. Then I remind myself how strange Networking can be, and how I’m never going to make an impact with all the 30 people in the room. My negative self says I may have missed someone who could be really useful. I may have not managed to get my “need” across to each person I meet.   None of that matters. What matters is coming away from a gathering having met at least one person you didn’t know, or hadn’t met for a long time, and having had a conversation.

Too often we think of Networking as speed dating. Its different. Its not quantity of conversations against the clock. It is the quality of a single (or maybe two) conversations which start to build an interest in the other person and their business.

Then I also trust in the Universe. My interest extends across Alternative Health and the Arts, International connections and Theatre, Coaching and supporting the development of Individual Personal Impact.   [And my weakness is capital letters.]

Today I was getting coffee next to a stranger. We were both there for networking. I take a breathe and prepare myself to get out of my comfort zone and say hello. I suggest to my Mountview students, coaching clients, and anyone else asking me about Networking, some ways to open a conversation. I use my favourite opener and within a few moments she is telling me about her career. Its fascinating. She mentions in passing, carefully disguised so as not to frighten the natives, that she is an alternative therapist.   I’ve said nothing – but now I have a common theme to explore.   Within a few moments she is asking about my world, and I can make connections.

By the end of today I had met someone who might help me sell my books more widely on the internet; someone who may be interested in Kath and my personal impact training course; and someone with whom to explore the richer world of alternative health and coaching healers in their business.

Today it was sausages at dawn. Next week it will be muesli and orange juice. But each time I go to a 4N Networking meeting I have fascinating conversations with new people, and a growing band of entrepreneurial friends.

Get in 2nd circle, and go talk to a stranger – they may become a friend.


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