The most famous aphorism to come out of Ancient Greece is “know thyself”—and the Greeks were so confident, they networked while wearing togas. There are a million secrets to networking success, but in the end, it all comes down to self-awareness.
- Why are you at a specific event?
- What do you hope to achieve?
- With whom can you connect to advance your goals?
Once you answer these crucial questions, you’ll be much more aware of the right time to talk, the right time to listen and the right time to walk away from a conversation. Self-examination is the foundation of successful networking.
Get What You Came For: Self Analysis Leads to Networking Discipline
Let’s say you sell digital keyboards at wholesale prices to musicians who can’t afford the big-box retail stores. Your marketing campaigns are working, your targeted ads are reaching the right people and you have a high click-through rate. But people just aren’t pulling the trigger when they get to your site. Is it your landing pages? Your site copy? The overall user experience?
You sign up for an e-commerce networking event, and when you get there, you find that it’s filled with the most interesting people. Great web designers, great copywriters and great social-media strategists are all ready to eat up your time by allowing you to engage them in conversation. However, you resist the urge to dive into discussions that are exciting, but that you know won’t provide any value in the long run.
Instead, you show discipline and gravitate toward the handful of people who understand the point in the sales cycle that you’re currently struggling with. The conversation isn’t nearly as interesting and you envy the people who are chatting up the guy who mastered Twitter, but you came with a purpose. You knew what you needed, you knew who could get you there and you resisted the urge to treat a networking event like a social party.
A few weeks later, you’re selling so many keyboards your accountant assumes that Yes is getting back together.
The 5-Minute Taxi concept forces you to become self aware, to analyze what you want and to envision who can help you achieve those goals. Networking is about connections, about who you know and who those connections know. Realistically, any networking success depends on how well you know the person in the mirror.