How to Conquer the Six Scariest Networking Situations
If Alfred Hitchcock had directed a horror film about networking, it would have included these six terrifying scenarios. Fireball Network has conjured up terror-free tactics for you to handle these situations, so you can become a fearless and successful networker. With these powerful tips and tricks, you’ll conquer your fears and your competitors – and be treated to sweet new business.
1. The Creepy Sleazy Sales Shark
You can hear the theme song to Jaws in your head as the creepy sleazy sales shark approaches. Dum dum dum dum….Suddenly you’re trapped. What do you do when someone spews a long, boring and completely irrelevant sales pitch? You’re stuck listening to the verbal equivalent of rotting kelp, and there’s no life raft in sight. Use the Fireball Network Shark Solution: Bite back. Open your own jaws and interrupt. State firmly “I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I have to leave to … catch a train / meet my boss / cut off my ears.”
2. The Silence of the Contacts.
Have you ever reached out repeatedly to meet with someone in your network, but she never responds. Have you ever sent a proposal and received stone cold silence in return? Do you have certain sales prospects who never reply to your emails or phone calls? If you’ve made your best professional efforts and still can’t get an answer or an explanation, it’s time to move on. Don’t waste your time with ghosts. There are many other doorbells to ring. Put on your power mogul costume, and move on to your next targets.
3. The Public Speaking Demons
When you get the chance to deliver a presentation or speech, do crazy demons possess your mind? According to scientific research, and the X-Files, “you’re not alone.” Most people experience a fear of public speaking. However, most people can also become confident presenters by practicing these simple and powerful techniques. Your physical state leads your psychological state, so adjust your posture. Plant your feet firmly on the floor, look up (never look down), and stand up straight. The Hunchback of Notre Dame has no place on your stage. Start strong. State your full name, title and company name with confidence. Speak with purpose. Organize your speech into 3-5 main points and then stick to them like caramel on an apple. Think about questions your audience might ask you, and prepare brief answers. “I hope you like it” is for sissies. “I invite you to visit our newest hotel at next month’s grand opening,” is engaging. Rehearse out loud, to a co-worker, friend, the mirror or even your cat. Time your presentation. Rehearse out loud again. And again. Then grab your magic microphone to conquer your demons and the world.
4. Attack of the Killer Bee Cards
Is a swarm of disorganized business cards taking over your office? Is your desk drawer overflowing? Is your briefcase infested? Too many people collect business cards at networking events; and then stick them in the black hole called “people I met and forgot what I was supposed to remember.” To tame your own wild swarm of business cards, you need to organize, prioritize, and take action. If you need to remember something specific about someone, write it down at the event on the card, a notebook, or in your phone. After the event label all cards individually, and as a group, with the labels relevant to you. For example: note the event, association, industry, referral source, prospect, or other important criteria. There are many apps and systems for scanning and organizing your contacts. Try free trials and demos to find the one that works best for you and your business. Fireball Network recommends keeping the physical cards for 6-12 months, because they provide a strong visual cue to help you remember. Keep the card groups organized with binder clips, elastics or envelopes, and label them. Keep them handy in a dedicated box or drawer. And most important of all, you must follow up. Pick up the phone, set meetings and transform those Killer Bee Cards into the sweet honey of new business.
5. Talking to Strangers
Do you experience any of these symptoms at the thought of talking to strangers? Shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat, shaking, and a sudden loss of language skills? Dr. FrankenFireball has an all-natural antidote: Take a moment to prepare what to say. Then take a deep breath, smile and extend a firm handshake. Prepare talking points about your business, current events, and industry topics in advance. Try some of our conversation starter treats: Hello my name is confidence. What inspired you to become an architect / lawyer / zombie-hunter? Who are your ideal clients and referral sources? What’s your favorite industry event / trade publication / business app? Where do you find the best Halloween candy in your neighborhood? Trick or Treat!
6. The Terror of Missed Opportunities
This is the scariest situation of all. Do you miss out on business and career opportunities because you don’t network effectively…or don’t network enough? Witchcraft won’t help you land great clients and jobs. You need to build, and leverage, a strong circle of professional and personal contacts who will help you succeed. Fireball Network offers bewitching antidotes to missed opportunities: Trick or Treat beyond your own backyard. Attend a variety of events to find the best match. Go out regularly, not just once a year. Meet with your favorite clients and referral sources in person, not just by email. Prioritize your most important contacts. Get to know people personally, as well as professionally. Ask for and offer useful introductions. Keep an open mind. And always keep some candy in your office.