Hello, Leading Ladies! Today, we’re diving into a topic that’s a game-changer for your professional life—how to elevate your success by learning from your network. Networking isn’t just about swapping business cards; it’s about building relationships and growing both personally and professionally.
Networking Groups Are For More Than Just Referrals
We often join networking groups to get referrals, but there’s so much more to gain. Networking groups are treasure troves of knowledge, experience, and opportunities. They’re not just about getting leads; they’re about building relationships with like-minded professionals and learning from each other.
In 2017, I started the Leading Ladies Facebook group, and it’s grown into a thriving community of over 6,400 members. We’re all about supporting each other, sharing experiences, and learning together. Here’s how we do it:
- Thought-Provoking Questions: I regularly ask questions in the group. The questions aren’t necessarily about business but about individuals, and when members answer those questions, they give a little insight into their lives to other group members.
- Monthly Promotions: Members can promote their businesses on the first of each month, making it a win-win for everyone. Limiting promotions to one day ensures that the group remains focused on meaningful interactions rather than just being a billboard for businesses.
- Sharing Resources: We are about women supporting women. When members ask for referrals, we ask everyone not to refer men as there are inevitably women in the group that represent that business/field.
How to Make the Most of a Networking Group
Networking groups offer a plethora of opportunities beyond referrals. When you enter a networking group, don’t just look to drum up business. Go in with a curious mind. Ask questions, share your experiences, and connect with other professionals. You’ll not only learn, but you’ll also become a valuable member that others will want to connect with. Here are some additional ways to maximize your experience and learn from your network:
- Offer Value First: Before asking for anything, offer something of value. This could be a free resource, a piece of advice, or even a connection to someone else in your network. People are more likely to help you if you’ve helped them first.
- Be Consistent: Show up regularly to meetings and engage consistently online. The more visible you are, the more people will recognize and remember you.
- Set Up One-on-One Meetings: Take the time to get to know people individually. Invite them for a coffee or a virtual chat. This deepens the relationship and allows for more meaningful conversations.
- Collaborate: Look for opportunities to collaborate on projects or events. This strengthens your relationship with other group members and exposes you to their networks.
- Be Genuine: People can spot a phony from a mile away. Be yourself, and the right connections will follow.
- Follow-Up: After you’ve met someone new or received a referral, always follow up with a thank-you note or email. This leaves a lasting impression and opens the door for future interactions.
- Share Your Wins and Challenges: Don’t just show up when you need something. Share your successes and challenges with the group. This makes you more relatable and opens the door for others to share valuable advice.
- Seek to Learn: Every interaction is an opportunity to learn something new. Keep an open mind, whether it’s a new business strategy or a life lesson.
- Leverage Social Media: Connect with group members on LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social platforms. Share and comment on their content to keep the relationship going between meetings.
- Be Respectful of Time: Networking meetings are just one part of a busy schedule. Be punctual, stick to the agenda, and respect other people’s time.
Networking is not a one-way street; it’s a bustling highway of shared experiences, lessons learned, and opportunities seized. So the next time you step into a networking event or log into a virtual meeting, remember: you’re not just building your business; you’re building a richer, more fulfilling professional life.
Want to dive deeper into the art of networking? Book a call with me, and let’s elevate your networking game!