Snow happens. Hello, April! Screw you, New England.
On average, I attend about two to three networking events a month. Most are beneficial; meeting new people, chatting about different lines of work, and consuming some good food and drink is always a plus.
However, there are events that had me checking my watch and thinking up excuses to leave early. Because, one of my biggest pet peeves is being sold to. Networking is not selling!
No one comes to a networking event to buy, so you shouldn’t go to sell.
I cannot tell you how many people introduce themselves, catch my name briefly, then go into their pitch: “Hi, I’m Steve from Blah Blah Company. I want to tell you how I can save you money. How much do you spend on groceries each month?”
Well, here’s the thing Steve: I actually spend way too much on groceries every month. I could actually use your services to keep those bills low. But, we just met. Let’s date before we get married (or at least get my name right).
Think of networking like a speed dating service. Walk around, chat with a few folks, and see who you could see yourself developing a relationship with. Imagine you are at a speed dating event, and someone comes up to you and starts rattling off why their so great, then asks you to marry them. What would you say? NO. You just met, of course you’re not going to commit yourself to this person.
Same thing with networking.
Use this opportunity to meet new people. Establish the relationship, exchange contact information, and take it from there. Follow up meeting one-on-one. It’s about getting to know each other, like each other, and ultimately trust each other. They may feel comfortable enough to recommend you to people who need your product or service.
- I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know when to not pick up
- I still fantasize about marrying any member of NSYNC
- If I had a British or Irish accent I’d never shut up
- When I eat an entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting, I go buy a whole new one so my fiancé doesn’t think I’m a fatty
- After eating a sandwich, I could go for another sandwich
- I spend money on Candy Crush Saga
The most important advice I’ve ever been given came from my mother, who kindly handed down her anxiety genes to me. Her wisdom has always played an intricate role in my life (even though I may not show it). This piece is one that stuck, and I continue to remind myself day after day.
No matter what problem I had to face in life, all she would do is sit back, sip her wine, look at me with sympathetic eyes and say, “Sweetheart, you are not a brain surgeon.”
The first time she told me this, I scrunched my nose and went into my old teenage ‘ignore mom’ mode. And actually, I was a bit put-off that she had the nerve to say I am not a brain surgeon. Was she insulting my intelligence? Is she hinting that I will never be as successful as a brain surgeon? Does she really think that low of me, her own daughter?
But let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
What do brain surgeons do? They perform surgery on a person sitting underneath them, brain exposed. Any incorrect movement, no matter how little or subtle, can change that person’s life. This doctor has a person’s life at steak – a person with someone who loves them with all their heart, a family that would do anything to support them, a job that relies on them… One wrong poke with the surgical tool will have many people in tears, absolutely devastated.
That’s a lot of responsibility if you haven’t gotten my point yet.
So, when my mother says to me, “Sweetheart, you are not a brain surgeon.” It’s a reminder that, no matter what issues, concerns, or huge decisions that need to be made, at the end of the day, everything is going to be fine. No one’s life is lying before me, I’m not going to have to deal with legal issues, it’ll be fine.
It’s Monday and I’ve already had one sale fall off, three people call out sick, and several phone calls not go in my favor. On top of that, I have an expense report due and a mandatory 30 minute online training I don’t have time for.
But, there will be other sales, new opportunities, and better phone calls. Life is too short to entertain anxiety. When it gets tough, just remind yourself, “You are NOT a brain surgeon.”
(Unless you are actually a brain surgeon. Please don’t give yourself that advice if you are.)