How to Build Your Network and Make the Most Out of Each Seminar You Attend
More often than not, we give opportunities to people we know and like. Think about it… we chose restaurants to eat at, places to get our hair done, and what services to use largely based on the recommendations and referrals we receive from people we know and trust.
This is why networking is SO important when it comes to success, reaching your goals, excelling in your career, or building a business.
My Challenge for You
The next time you attend a seminar, or even at your next social event, when you have the opportunity to meet new people and network, do it! Yes, you might have to take a step outside your comfort zone and do some uncomfortable things like (oh no) making eye contact with someone and (gulp) starting a conversation with a complete stranger! But, I promise you those few seconds of slight awkwardness will be well worth it when you land yourself a new client, customer, referral, job, an amazing opportunity, or a good friend!
When you attend personal and business development seminars, you are surrounded by amazing, success-driven individuals like yourself! Take advantage of it! I know the seminars I’ve attended that truly changed my life were the ones where I did some uncomfortable things on the breaks, and I made an effort to meet new people.
Tips for Making Connections and Building Your Network
Now that I’ve convinced you to do some slightly uncomfortable things, what exactly should you do? Well, here are my 3 biggest tips on how I network and make the most of the seminars I attend.
Even when attending an event with my husband or a business associate, I always make an effort to sit next to someone I don’t know. And if the seminar is more than a one-day event, I sit in a different section of the room each time. This gives me an opportunity to surround myself with different people and strike up a conversation with someone new.
#2 – Talk to someone that doesn’t look like you.
In general, we tend to gravitate toward people that look like, dress like, and sound like us – people we feel we can relate to. The next time you attend a seminar, and there’s a break or an opportunity to chat, make your way up to a person or group of people that don’t look like you. In these situations, you can learn a lot.
For instance, when I was a fitness instructor in the beginning stages of building my business, I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable walking up to a group of doctors, lawyers, or people who looked super important and saying, “Hi, I teach aerobics. Can I be a part of your inner circle?” But I did it anyways, and I built relationships with people whom I’ve learned a lot from and still network with today!
#3 – Ask questions.
The best way to start a conversation is by asking questions.
“Where are you from?”
“Do you have kids?”
“What do you do?”
“How did you do that?”
When a person shares a piece of information with you, be genuinely interested and ask questions about it. If he or she hands you their business card, don’t just stuff it in your purse. Hold it, look at it, and ask MORE questions! Here’s the thing, people love to talk about themselves and how they came to be successful. Most likely, they’ll be so happy you asked!
Our Lives are Forever Changed by the People We Meet
While it might have been more comfortable to keep to myself or only talk to people I knew, the most life-changing events were the ones where I took a step outside my comfort zone. Here’s the good news: the more you do it, the more natural and comfortable these things become! At your next event, take advantage of the incredible opportunity in front of you! Each conversation can lead to a tip, a great story, or a piece of information you can really learn from.
To be successful, you must surround yourself with like-minded people. When you network and make connections with people like this, your life can forever change just by taking a step outside your comfort zone!