The Players – Which Role Will You Play Today?

By Sabrina Risey

Get Out And Network!  Whether new to networking or seasoned, the art of networking can push professionals outside their comfort zone.  Many freeze in their tracks, overwhelmed with worry and insecurity of the “unwritten rules” of networking.  But rather than “Networking Rules,” I like to talk about “Networking Roles.”  When you understand your role, like a part in a play or a position on a baseball team, the anxiety and pressure of networking is lifted.

Consider which role you might play at any given time: the Inviter, the Invited or the Regular Networker.

The Inviter.  A great way to give back to your business colleagues, peers, friends and vendors is to let them know about networking events going on in the area and invite them to attend with you.  As the Inviter, your role is one of trusted liaison and caretaker of your guest.  The Inviter’s mission is to introduce their guest to connections, perhaps targeting those who share a similar target market as their guest.  For example, if your guest is a graphic designer, they would appreciate introductions to those in the printing industry, web designers, new start-up business owners, marketing and brand specialists, and so forth.  If your guest connects with someone in a conversation, excuse yourself to network with others, keeping a watchful eye and reuniting with your guest if they do not engage in a conversation with someone else.

The Invited Newcomer.  Before you leave your office to network, be sure to pat yourself on the back for stepping outside of your comfort zone.  Then focus on your goal for networking… to make new connections and form relationships.  A mistaken belief about networking is that it is a quick fix to business growth and an opportunity to sell widgets and close deals.  While this may be an impulse at networking events, hard selling actually pushes people away.  Instead, networking is a longer-term solution.  As you network, focus on meeting people, being genuine, having quality conversations and building relationships. Remember that people enjoy doing business and referring business to people they know and trust.  If you are a first-time guest, let people know and ask them how things work.  People generally like to help newcomers.  As a guideline, consider yourself a gatherer of information and ask questions, engaging others in conversation.

The Regular Networker.  The skilled and effective networker takes themselves out of the equation and focuses on the interests and offerings of others.  As a “regular” at a particular networking event, be the one to greet newcomers with a smile and make them feel comfortable, asking them about their business.  Everyone’s favorite topic of conversation is themselves.   Ask how they got into their line of work and what they enjoy most about it.  Get to know them on a personal level by asking what they enjoy doing in their spare time and take it from there.  Set yourself apart by taking an interest in getting to know this first-time guest, what their needs are and how or if you can be of service.  Find out who their ideal power partner or their target market is and immediately begin thinking about who you know and whether you can facilitate an introduction to someone present at the event.  Imagine how great it would feel to help someone by sharing resources and information with them.  Taking these extra steps will go a long way and the newcomer will always remember your kindness.

Regardless of your role – the Inviter, the Invited Newcoming or the Regular Networker – the premise in the end is to build relationships at every turn.  I like to say, “those who make the most friends, win” because building relationships actually builds your entire network.  The more trusting relationships you have, the more “business friendships” you have, the more resources and connections to which you have access and the more referrals you receive as your connections begin to think of you, their friend, first and most often.

(c) 2011 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include the Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking and referral group organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several networking events across Colorado’s Front Range, as well as referral groups that attract professionals who network to give rather than get.  You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business.  To learn more about Behind The Moon, please visit http://www.BehindTheMoonInc.com

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About Sabrina Risley
Sabrina Risley is a master connector. She’s been hosting live networking events since 2004 and has welcomed 20,000+ professionals to those events. She shares her observations, insights and tips of how the top 2% of effective and magnetic networkers build their businesses. She also shares what NOT to do when networking. Get her complimentary e-book: Strategic Networking for Success.

2 Responses to The Players – Which Role Will You Play Today?

  1. Gary Patton says:

    You could also add GIVER to the list. I have been donating a book or two to various Networking Events here in Denver and get some great feedback.

    It is fun and makes you feel good when you give something without wanting anything in return.

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