The ultimate guide on how to fall (and stay) in love with networking
Throughout February you may have seen Cathy’s cupid moments on LinkedIn. We’re old romantics at heart and so thought we’d keep the theme of love for our March blog and talk about how to keep the romance alive when it comes to networking (metaphorically of course. Although we’ve seen more than just business sparks fly in Opendoorz over the years!). Here’s our guide on how to fall, and stay, in love with networking.
As with any relationship, you get out what you put in. When you decide to join a networking group, it’s absolutely essential to throw yourself whole-heartedly into it if you want to get the most out of it.
At Opendoorz we have a number of commitments, or KPIs, that our members agree to when they join. Why? Well, networking is a two-way street and to ensure both individual and group success we all need to be kept accountable. Our Opendoorz KPIs help keep us focused and committed on the activities we know reap the most benefits for individuals and for the groups as a whole. That’s having regular Insights, or 1-to-1, meetings, inviting relevant guests and passing opportunities.
Strong relationships are built on shared values. Whilst our KPIs keeps us focused on what’s important, it’s the common values we share that really bonds Opendoorz members together.
Within Opendoorz everything is based around quality not quantity. So, whilst, member contribution is important we believe to keep the fires burning it’s more crucial to enjoy and get value out of each and every session. Whether that be making new contacts, finding synergies, opportunities for collaboration or making great friends. When those sparks fly because you’re in a room (or a zoom) with a group of people all pulling towards a common set of goals the business comes naturally.
See other people
Ok, maybe not sound relationship advice but in a networking context it’s good to bring others into the mix too!
At Opendoorz each month our members invite guests to join us as they offer the opportunity to meet new, like-minded, high calibre professionals and expand our business connections and network. In many cases, our guests have gone on to give substantial pieces of business, made quality introductions to our members and have become strategic partners, valued suppliers and new members. But most importantly our guests always say they learn something new and have a great experience – despite currently meeting us on Zoom and not having the added benefit of a beer in the bar afterwards!
Spend quality time
When you spend time with someone else on a 1:1 basis you are able to really get to know them and their business well. At Opendoorz, we actively encourage our members to have a minimum of two Insights a month because this is the only way to really build strong, long-term relationships where you really get to know each other, delve deep into all aspects of each other’s businesses, explore ways to collaborate and hatch plans to create strong working relationships.
Take it slow
We all know that a hard sell approach in a Networking environment will not produce valuable results or endear you to fellow members. In fact, it will be frowned upon – particularly within Opendoorz!
We advise new members to spend the first six months taking time to educate fellow members (and you them) about how you can actively help and support each other. Once you have a good understanding of each other’s businesses, an ideal client and who your valuable introducers are, the opportunities will flow.
Be a good listener
At each Opendoorz meeting we have a structured format that includes showcases, specific requests, professional development and an open forum enabling that education, but we also allow time for discussion and debate. The structure allows us to benefit from each other’s expertise and wisdom as well as sharing ideas and inspiration.
Show you care
Meeting other businesses is key to growing your professional network around you. Ultimately people buy from people and are happy to open their little black book of contacts to those they like and trust, so it is worth creating the best impression. Bringing energy, positivity and valued contribution to the meetings will help develop relationships quickly; building confidence and respect that will lead to opportunities and success.
So, there you have it. The Opendoorz guide to falling, and staying, in love with networking. Just as with our personal relationships, networking takes time, energy and commitment but if you find the group that works for you it never feels like a chore and you’ll get back a whole load of love 😉
If you’d like to try a bit of networking love the Opendoorz way, drop us a line and join us at a guest event. https://www.opendoorz.biz/contact