As a chamber professional, you undoubtedly understand the benefit of networking for businesses but not everyone does. As a chamber, you can help your members learn how to effectively network and even learn to love networking.
Some people see the benefit but still can’t bring themselves to leave their comfort zone. Many other people approach networking with the same dread they save for going to the dentist to have a root canal.
Here are some tips to help them overcome their doubts and fears.
How to Teach Members to Love Networking
Think of it as a Scavenger Hunt
We all want to find our tribe. Somewhere out there is theirs. Challenge your members to look at networking not as something forced and uncomfortable but as a way to discover your people. See it as a challenge like gold mining or a scavenger hunt. You need to root through a lot before you find what you’re looking for. But when you do, the hunt will seem very worth it. You’ll love networking when it brings you rewards and results.
Get to Know People
Networking can feel self-serving. Today’s networking gurus advise that you should turn the tables and ask others how you can be of service to them. But this feels incredibly phony if you’re just “faking it till you make it.” We all know that while that networker is asking “What can I do for you” he’s really asking “Want to buy from me?”
Instead, think about getting to know people on a deeper level. Forget business. Get right into who they are and what they like to do. When people talk about themselves, they’re more likely to stay engaged in the conversation and think that it went really well. If your members hate small talk, encourage them to move past it by getting to know someone. You maybe won’t love them, but you’ll love networking more and more.
If the person in front of you isn’t a good fit for your business, don’t scan the room for someone else to talk to. Think of ways you might help them through introducing them to members of your network. Not only will they remember your assistance, but you’ll feel good and even learn to love networking.