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Do you hate networking? So do I. Actually, it’s pretty hard to hide the fact that I really enjoy and get energized by meeting new people, especially inspiring entrepreneurs with a can-do attitude. I guess I’m lucky because I know a lot of people hate networking and think it’s a big fat mentally draining waste of time, but it doesn’t have to be.
I’m Angela Cote, Franchise Growth Catalyst, and I’m here to give you your “Exponential Growth Tip”. If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll probably notice that I’ve been attending a lot of different networking events, franchise industry conferences and education events. I’m a really big believer in maximizing the opportunity you can get from being at these events, from talking to people, of course, the education and simply just exposure for your brand.
However, one thing I can’t stand at networking events is when people come up and they look right at your name badge and say, “And who are you with?” I know they want to get to the point and find out what you do so they can decide whether or not it’s worth spending another minute with you, but for me when they ask me that, I say things like “I’m with myself because I’m with Angela Cote Consulting”.
I’ve kind of figured out a fun way to answer that, but I really don’t like that question. For me, if I’m going to work with somebody, whether that’s collaboratively or whether they’re a potential client or whatever it is, I’d like to get to know them a little bit. That’s what’s going to entice me to do business with them – more than just learning what they do.
The other half of the equation is knowing that I can trust them and feel comfortable with them. Have you ever noticed that when you really like someone you go out of your way to try to do business with them and you naturally think of them more? I don’t know about you, but the minute someone starts into their like blah-blah-blah elevator speech, I start looking around the room thinking, how can I get myself out of this conversation?!
One of my favourite icebreakers at networking events as you shake hands is to say, “Hey, what’s your story,” or, “I’m Angela. What’s your story?” I find that this opens up the opportunity to talk about what’s most important at the moment regarding why they’re there. I think it’s also because it implies that we actually care about each other a little bit rather than just jumping into what can you do for me.
I also like when people simply ask me, “How’s your day going,” because that opens up the opportunity to start talking, get a little more intimate, and I find that the conversation ends up going in a better direction. Of course, the icing on the cake is if you can add some humor into your opening line, but we’ll save that for another exponential growth tip – another day.
So to recap, my exponential growth tip today is:
Maximize your opportunity at networking events by asking more creative questions than your peers.
I encourage you to try this, and I’d love to hear how it goes. In the meantime, I’d love to hear if you have any tips or ideas or maybe you disagree with me! Maybe you have a reason why you prefer the “So who are you with” question.
Maybe you’ve got some good stories about networking. I’d love to hear them!
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, or post a comment if you’re viewing this on social media.
In the meantime, don’t forget to…
GO BE AWESOME!
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