Networking is a participant sport. You have to rumble to make it work. That means a series of email or texts does not count.
You have to have skin in the game. You have to meet face to face, break bread, visit, interact facially, gesturally, and verbally together.
The other day I did all that, over a series of meetings that will likely bear abundant fruit. Perhaps not immediately. Perhaps with additional effort. Perhaps not at all, but I made the effort. Others did too. I give 51% or more. They fill in the rest. These folks I met the other day added more than I expected.
I was invited to a new mastermind group of established and smart people whom I did not know at all, (save 1, who invited me, and another was a former student when he was underemployed) to meet and start the process of confederacy among just 8 who were what will become a monthly breakfast table. Intros, a few words about passions that we pursue outside of business as well, common ground broken, exchange of cards, connections on LinkedIn as an investment in our futures, and we’re now all setting up one-to-one meetings ahead of scheduling of our next group meeting. Rich.
Off to the next meeting that morning, which went 90 minutes though scheduled for 45, in a new colleague’s office, as we conversed (remember that art?) and explored ways to help each other. Results were that I invited him to guest blog (stay tuned) and offered to refer him to an expert he needed to consult for his personal college financial needs, so you see we did not just discuss business, but got into more than just the usual stuff. Mind meld: it was that kind of meeting.
Then later in the afternoon a meeting with another new networking connection, a consultant to nonprofits, and we explored ways he could matriculate best into the group we met (in which I am steering committee member and can offer such advice to help him). He’s nearly 2 years on his own after decades of working for others, so he had a few questions about ways to stand out for the crowd of competitors, and as you can imagine, I had a few pointers to help him. Great start with a great colleague.
Then the evening event was a networking group of solo practitioner lawyers, and my elevator pitch as I made their acquaintances surrounded my LinkedIn work in their space and my ABA book, with a few new ideas that came forth in mutual conversation. BTW, the guest speaker spoke very well about networking tips for lawyers in particular, and anyone else as well.
A 12-hour networking day, interspersed with client service calls because you are never off the hook as an entrepreneur, no matter where you are located at their time of need. One exclaimed, “It’s always such a pleasure to have you explain things. We love how you help us.” Aw shucks.
I slept well that night! Each new day brings new opportunities too.