• gabrielacrendon

Networking With A Purpose

How to use networking to discover new opportunities.

Let me start by clarifying that networking is more than a buzzword. Taking the time to research, engage and build relationships is a crucial soft skill that helps you create meaningful connections with others, expands your circle of learning and support.

Networking is not shuffling business cards like in a casino, talking about your business every time you meet people, or spamming random posts with "likes." Networking involves building a bridge between parties to benefit from each other and the relationship.

Networking requires a strategy.

Networking is a strategy that can completely transform your lifestyle, business or kickstart your entrepreneurial endeavors because it allows you to engage with interesting people and discover new opportunities.

Networking is not asking for a job, a referral, or selling. Networking with a purpose creates an environment where the other person actually looks forward to follow-up with you because they benefit from your conversation.

Networking is identifying opportunities to help others, and yes, you might mention or offer a service that you are an expert on, but that is not the point.

How to network with a purpose

Focus on how can you help others? Have an 8-second pitch of what you do and pay attention to their reaction. Were they interested? If so, keep the conversation going in simple terms; you don't want to bore anyone!

Finally, ask about THEIR life, business, or simply put: What do they do? Try to ask the right questions and show you are honestly interested in their ideas. Getting to know what a person does is critical for networking.

Women-only networking groups

Because general networking events usually operate like a big boys' club, I absolutely recommend looking for women-only networking groups to meet like-minded people in a non-judgemental, safe, and welcoming place.

Typically, a women's group is more inviting and open to discussing various issues from parenting to accessing capital to hormones affecting your everyday productivity. In these groups, you can find inspirational stories, mentors, and teams that can help you accelerate your journey and achieve goals together.

Social Media is an excellent way to start.

We all know of the power of social media and how Facebook groups have helped build communities for every interest and hobby available. Facebook groups are about building trusted relationships, and ultimately, expanding your network.

Instagram is also an excellent resource to find your "tribe," searching for hashtags you are interested in will give you different results to choose from and engage with them.

And, of course, Pinterest! This eye-catching "catalog of ideas" can help you network with like-minded people in your field. Believe it or not, there is some powerful networking behind Pinterest.

So, are you ready to go and network like a pro?

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