Team Networking Fitness

We are used to fitness expectations and routines for physical health, mental health and financial health.  What about your company’s new business development health?    

Networking is a critical wave in building business relationships, whether your focus is new clients or referral partners.  

In a recent talk at Commercial Real Estate Women at the James Center, we discussed the many ways in which employers’ value purposeful networking.  

The Young Professionals’ Networking Dilemma

One team member asked, “How can I get my young professionals to be interested in networking, they seem to hesitant?”

When you ask Young Professionals what they value, they typically reply with examples of what they grew up with in The Information Age.  Apps, efficiency, a sense of community and work-life balance do not seem to fit with networking. Individual mentorship and introductions at networking events is seen much less in professional services organizations.  

To prepare, we first need to convey that networking is a necessary part of building business relationships.  As more senior members of the team, we also need to help young professionals understand how bringing in new business can be an expectation for career growth.  Compensation should be a benefit of bringing in new business. We learned from a brief survey of the crowd that employers are not doing a sufficient job of relating new business compensation to networking employees.  Networking can relate nicely to community involvement and now many organizations are changing networking times to work well with young professionals. Some practical preparation is also necessary without the one-on-one mentorship relationship.  Dots Grow can help you convey the necessary information to this key group!  

We discussed simple ways to prepare for successful networking. Here you will find a quick chart to describe some of the best and worst questions to ask at networking events.

Networking ROI and Communication

“People tend to take these events for granted until they are taken away” states one association committee member.  She goes on to say, “We have to remain vigilant in understanding why the investment is made in the first place.“  

Employers generally value the opportunity to get the company name out in the community.   Many people confuse sponsoring events and public relations with professional networking. Networking is not simply public relations.  Networking is designed to build business relationships to benefit the individual and the company. Before walking into each networking event, ask yourself if your audience is in the room.  How many potential referral partners (people who might refer clients to you) are there in the room? Do you have in mind the characteristics of your client base? Do you see people like your clients in the room, or are you looking for a new type of client?

It may not be enough for you to enjoy your networking experiences.  Your employer may be facing budget cuts or a change in direction. If you value your networking relationships, and your company does not track new business relationships from networking relationships, be proactive and bring this information to your annual review.    

Networking Style

Next, we talked about how to find your own personal style and voice at networking meetings.  

“It really helps me to have an idea of what I am going to say before walking into the room” shared one professional.  

We explored how best to take information already established from your company mission and make it your own.  See how we created a template for each person’s messaging at networking events here.

For more information on how to spend your time and your employer’s money more wisely, check out www.dotsgrow.com

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