How often have we heard that relationships are our greatest asset without seeing behaviors that back it up? Real business success is extremely difficult without building great relationships. So it’s time invest!
As we discussed in Part 1, practicing your social, communication and emotional skill sets is absolutely critical to getting better at the relationship building process.
It’s also necessary to practice those skills in the right places to build powerful and influential relationships that will help you and your network. I’ve put together six exercises at the end that will also help you in this area.
Let’s continue to discuss the key places you should go to.
Charities and Nonprofits
I am a huge proponent of going to charity and nonprofits (i.e. museums, symphony, opera, etc.) events. Most of these organizations have monthly or quarterly events, and some have a gala event once a year.
Charity, nonprofit, networking, and other happy hour events are really great because they are usually held in the middle of the week when there are not many other events happening, and they are typically inexpensive (i.e., $10-$15 with a drink and sometimes appetizers). You can go out for just a couple of hours in the early evening and typically be home before nine o’clock.
Many of the people going to these events are very well connected and very social professionals and business executives, and they have large networks of their own that you can tap into. People are also much more open to meeting others, and much less guarded, at these events, compared to other environments.
The setting makes it easier to break the ice in initial conversations because you can ask people if they are a member of the organization, etc. This makes it much easier to meet people and overcome your own social anxiety.
As you continue to go to these events, you will start recognizing the same people. Why? Because many people are involved in several charities, nonprofits, cultural and networking organizations, and they go to their events regularly. Plus, they are often socially mobile professionals who will be out and about in your city doing social things.
Soon they will start responding to you like they’ve run into an old friend. Chances are, they will actually be seeing you more than they see a lot of their very good friends.
That’s why this is a great opportunity to build new relationships and expand your network quickly!
You’ll also find that some people may have been associated with the same organizations for years but have barely spoken to each other. You can help them connect and make new connections for yourself, and that’s an important opportunity. It’s a way to really take your life to the next level!
If you find a group that does something you feel passionate about, take it to next level and volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to meet more people in an organization. Just contact the organizer and say, “Hey, if you need any help, I’m available.” The organizer typically will introduce you to other volunteers, so you will quickly get to know people involved in the organization.
If you have a high level of social anxiety, volunteer before the event starts so you can get used to the environment and meet a few people in the organization.
Just go to the website or the Facebook page and see who is in charge of membership and events. Contact them and say that you would like to volunteer for their next event. I’d say in the email that you’d like to work the check-in table at the start of the event. In many instances, you can also go to the event for free if you volunteer (even an expensive gala event). If you work the check-in table, you can meet many of the people at the event as they come in. This makes it easier to work the room later because you will have already met them once and built some initial rapport.
Next, the golf course is the place where a lot of networking and business deals get done. It is a great sport to learn to play because of the connections you can make on and off the golf course. You can join a country club, golf association, or participate in the myriad of golf charity outings that go on year round.
Here are a few other great places to go:
- Chamber of Commerce
- Key Professional & Trade Associations
- InterNations (for international connections)
- Alumni organizations (college or graduate)
Finally, you’ll want to target places where your prospects and other key business targets go.
The first part of building a powerful network is going to the right places to practice. Create your target list and start going to the events. You will start to see your opportunities both personally and professionally expand significantly.
I want to leave you a quote by Dr. Ivan Misner: “First, you have to be visible in the community. You have to get out there and connect with people. It’s not called net-sitting or net-eating. It’s called networking.You have work at it.”
Jason Treu is one the top life mastery coach (and reformed lawyer) helping men and women create the business, relationships and life they love. His new #1 bestselling book, Social Wealth, is a how-to-guide on how to build extraordinary personal and professional relationships. You can download his free guide, “Six Exercises to Jump Start Your Professional Relationships.” Connect with him and get coaching at BeExtraordinary.tv.
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