The Art of Networking

Samantha Schleese

by Samantha Schleese

Published: October 14, 2020

Recently, I hosted a 20-minute IG Live on one of my absolute favourite topics: Networking. It is literally the essence of my career, why I am able to grow businesses, and how I get ahead. The feedback I received from the talk was so positive that I thought I’d turn it into an easy to read blog post for those friendly reminders and nudges (that we all need) to push your networking even further!

Tip # 1 – Attend networking events

There is a whole new world out there full of virtual networking events. You can literally sit in your underwear, look presentable from the waist up, and meet a plethora of great new people. Even if you only meet a handful of new people, that’s a handful of people who have now heard about you and your company that didn’t know anything about it before. Set your expectations low, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how even just one great extra contact per week could grow your business. 

Shameless selfless plug: City MOGULS hosts a wicked speed networking happy hour at the end of every month at 5pm EST. Think speed dating online but instead of meeting a potential partner, you meet tons of like-minded people who can hire you, collaborate with you, and so much more. (It’s the price of a cheap cocktail, and free if you’re a member… just click here). But seriously - attend a networking event at least once or twice a month. 

Tip #2 – Have a concise pitch

For entrepreneurs it can be difficult to sum up what you do in 2 sentences. We love talking about past projects, what we currently do, what’s coming up next, etc. But when you are meeting someone for the first time, the goal is to hook them right off the bat. You can’t ramble on for 5 minutes – you will have lost engagement. Make sure that your initial answer to “what do you do”, grabs their attention, is very clear and punchy, and would lead to that person being more intrigued to what you do. Be confident in your pitch… it could lead you to great places.

Tip #3 – Listen

I remember reading an article that left a lasting impression on me with this rule of thumb: when meeting someone for the first time, make sure the other person is talking about 80% of the time, and you’re talking 20% of the time. Sounds a bit crazy but it WORKS! I’ve stopped talking as much and listening more and noticed a clear shift in the future interactions with that person. Clearly, people LOVE talking about themselves. So let them.

Tip #4 - Tracking tools 

Use tracking tools to manage your contact list. Back in the day people had a physical rolodex. The digital version is a tool like Asana, Airtable. Keeping track of your network and leads is where a lot of people miss out. We forget about contacts, they get lost in our inbox, texts, etc. Having a tracking tool gives you accountability to your potential customers and clients.

Tip #5 – It's a marathon

Converting clients is a long term game. This tip is simply to change your perspective. If your mindset is to walk into every meeting, every interaction, every conversation to get something out of it, you’re going to lose. Go in with a mindset that you simply get to connect and meet someone new. Don’t set expectations.

Tip #6 – Bug people and personalize messages

Check in with potential clients and stakeholders often. Stay top of mind. Don’t be shy to follow up with people a few times. I find asking people good questions and personalizing emails is also crucial. Instead of the usual “I’d love to catch up.” Look at their social media, see what they have been up to recently and personalize your opening. For example: “I read your latest blog post! What you said about X really resonated with me” or “I saw you just launched X new product! Congrats!” or “I just noticed that we have a mutual connection: X person, such a small world. How do you know them?” These types of openers really incentivize people to respond faster.

Tip #7 – Book meetings with the right people

A great tool that me and my team use is Calendly – my biz partner Victoria Marshman introduced me to this and it’s a game changer! You can have others book meetings easily with you based on your calendar. It’s brilliant. The second part of this tip is understand if this person is someone that is in your target demo who you would give up time in your precious day to talk to. You can’t book meetings with absolutely everyone… it’s impossible. Do a proper check on someone either on Linkedin, Facebook, IG or all of them and make sure you think that this person is worth your time. It’s challenging sometimes to determine, but at least you can say you did your due diligence before giving up a half hour of your time (or more).

Tip #8 – Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for favours or freebies when you are building your network. People are more willing to help than you think. It’s also a great way to make others feel valuable. It can be something as simple as: “I love how you have built your brand and I’d love 10 minutes of your time to ask you more about it”.

Tip #9 – Show up, look the part

We are going to be attending virtual events not just for the next little while, but for many years to come (lots of great pro’s here). Make sure your name is correctly spelled (sounds easy but people tend to forget) and join meetings on time. It’s important to stay punctual even if you aren’t in person. As well, from the waist down do literally whatever you want, but from the waist up, it’s important to look presentable. We are all visual beings, when you look and dress the part, you not only exude confidence to others, but you exude confidence within yourself which is an attractive and trustworthy quality. Finally, if you are speaking, make “eye contact”. Meaning, look directly into your camera. Feels weird, I know, but it allows you to make others feel like you are talking to them instead of looking at your screen.  

Tip #10 – Be confident, be you 

At the end of the day – this all comes down to confidence & being yourself and here’s why. When you feel confident with not only what you do, but who you are, it shows. And people are drawn to confidence. And this ties back into what I was saying earlier about the “likeability” factor. When someone likes you as a person, they are more likely to purchase what you are selling. So make sure your personal brand is strong, and that you are your most genuine self.

Good luck on your next networking adventure and I hope these tips helped!

To watch this live head to our @CityMOGULS IGTV.

Want to set up a virtual coffee with me? Book now.

Happy Networking to you all!

- Dani Kagan