Don’t think of pink elephants!
So how many did you think of? Where they big? Where they small? Were their trunks moving?
Let’s try again, don’t think about networking events.
What did you picture? People in suits in a fancy hotel or company conference room? Could you hear the constant buzz of light conversation and glasses being filled with ice and wine? Was it a stuffy environment?
The strongest salesmen and businessmen know that every conversation is an opportunity to connect. Yes, your typical, strictly professional business mixers and networking events are made for those kinds of connections, but how often do you network outside of those settings? And more importantly, why should you?
We have come to the conclusion lately, based on personal experience and a select group consensus, that informal networking is our new favorite trend. How many of you have realized that the relationships you build are stronger once you’ve gotten to know your client on a personal level? Do you click more at a business lunch or over drinks? Is it easier to start a conversation with a business card or a mutual hobby? I mean, how many movies have you watched where large business deals are solidified on the golf course, instead of the office? Just like our bi-monthly Binge Networking event—that encourages networking based on conversation topics instead of an elevator pitch, you can check it out this month at our office on August 23— we believe getting to know one another, at least a little, should happen before the business can start. Hence: Informal Networking!
Why is informal networking so great?
Informal networks are not as bureaucratically structured. When you’re speaking with someone at the park or a party, the flow of ideas isn’t limited to your position in a company or the clearance you need from your superiors. We’re not encouraging you to divulge company secrets, but you are able to skip certain authorities and have a more relaxed, honest conversation. The beauty of these kinds of relationships is the connections are able to grow more organically, and can even develop into full-fledged communities who look after each other’s well-being.
Similar location can equal similar interests. If you’re at a bowling alley or waiting in line at a restaurant, you don’t have to go looking around for people with similar interests because, chances are, that’s what brought you together. You now have an instant ice-breaker and potential client.
Embracing the unknown. We’ve all heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” But it isn’t until you embrace the unknown and network in casual situations where you can meet new people who can help your business get to the next level. Such as this woman stated in her Huffington Post article.
“I’m still astounded by what doors open and friendships emerge when I put myself out there and talk with people. By engaging in casual conversation with others, I learn a lot about people for who they are. In fact, I find organic networking to be a much more efficient way of learning what is mutually beneficial to a relationship than what I learn in a professional setting.”
Looking for your next informal networking event? Look no further! Join us for our 4th Annual Cruise N Brews on August 5, starting at 6pm. We will be touring the picturesque Marina del Rey on our 3-hour yacht trip aboard The Entertainer, a 3-story Hornblower Cruises & Events yacht. Pretzel necklaces, mini beer mugs, Venice Paparazzi photo booth, and a beautiful sunset with friends and, of course, potential clients. Don’t be left on the dock, buy your ticket today!