When going out to promote your business, promote yourself, or just becoming more visible in your career one of the most important aspects for organic growth is mindful networking. When I teach workshops on networking for soft-spoken leaders occasionally there’s a groan in the room… or a collective sense of anxiety.
What do I say?
How do I come across?
This feels off… I can’t be myself?
Am I doing this properly?
Networking is not any different than becoming friends – the only difference is is that you are actively solving problems for new people you meet through your business. You meet someone that is a dentist but you are a health coach? Think of collaborations – the link between eating sugary foods and dental hygiene. Perhaps a referral?
There are connections and collaborations that can be made and the distinction between mindful networking and regular networking is this. Mindful networking always puts collaboration first and is more about the long game.
Regular networking – and why the collective groans and anxiety could be felt in the room – comes from an energy of what can I take from you? How many business cards can I hand out?
I will tell you a secret – I do not pass out business cards. I intentionally do not because I know what happens – you get a bunch of them, stack them on your desk, and a month later it has collected dust. But, the beautiful thing about this process of no business cards is that it forces people to become conscious and intentional with their time and what they are doing mindfully.
Instead of passing out a business card ask them these three questions:
1. Why did you come to this event?
2. Why do you do the work you do?
3. What are you looking forward to in your business?
Start with the why and allow that person to shine and step into their bigger vision of their business. You will then be able to really see how you best can serve, collaborate, and grow together in business.
Isabelle Rizo is a singularity storytelling consultant, artist, and lecturer who has been named one of the “Top 7 Entrepreneur Advisors.” She brings together technology, digital media, and storytelling for brands that change paradigms. An artist and teacher to her core when not working she focuses on developing mixed-media artwork that inspires conversation on perspective and polarities. You can connect with her at isabellerizo.com.