Business networking is a fun time — mingling, eating, chatting about business. But do you walk away with solid connections? Many business owners attend networking events but don’t utilize the time or crowd as well as they can. They walk away having spoken to a lot of new people, but not having made any real connections for themselves or their peers.
Adrian Miller is many things, including a Business Growth Architect, sales consultant, trainer, author, avid traveler, blogger, columnist, hockey mom, amateur photographer, theater lover, moviegoer, and networker extraordinaire. (I bet you have some of those things in common with her!) So with all of that in her wheelhouse, it’s not hard to believe that she’s a pretty social person and knows how to create business connections. So, in 2009, Adrian created Adrian’s Network, an innovative and (very) successful business networking community that combines virtual networking (think conference calls and webinars) with in-person meetings. This networking community provides members with different benefits and advantages, all with one goal in mind: increased business profits and relationships.
“It’s not just passing a card, it’s engagement and building trust. People go in [to networking events] and look for a fast return on time, which doesn’t always happen, and people sometimes have unrealistic expectations or might be shortsighted.”- Adrian Miller
Ramon Ray got some great networking advice, plus a few do’s and don'ts directly from Adrian herself. Keep reading to learn how to network your best and to learn more about Adrian’s Network.
Become a Great Networker
Adrian says that a really great networker understands how to be proactive and doesn’t wait for someone else to ask for what they need. Instead of waiting for people to tell you what or who they need, think of the people in your current network who work in similar markets — this is where possible introductions can be made. Adrian tries to be proactive about making a certain amount of introductions each week. (Kind of like giving herself a little challenge) Basically, don’t worry too much about the details of the connection you are putting together. Make the introductions and then let your contacts work out the details of how they might be able to do business together.
Adrian also explains that introducing people based on personal synergies can work too. If two people in your network are avid hikers, for example, you might want to connect them since they likely have other interests in common, possibly even a potential business need.
When Networking, Do Not…
As Adrian likes to call it, “conversation snatching” is a no-no when networking. Conversation snatching is when someone is talking/telling a story/explaining something, and you immediately take over the conversation and turn it to yourself. Adrian explains that you’re not adding value to the conversation, but instead making it about a personal experience. Instead of doing this (which is pretty common), try to feed into the other persons line of conversation vs taking away from it. This idea of conversation snatching happens often, as people get excited about a topic and want to interject a personal experience. But this takes the energy away from the person who started the conversation and is trying to make a point. Allow them to finish and then offer your feedback and experience.
The economic recession in 2008 was the catalyst for Adrian’s networking business. She found that many groups had restricted rules that didn’t offer the community feel she was looking for. So, she decided to create Adrian’s Network. She took the time to see what worked, what didn’t work, and tested her ideas over a set time frame. Within this network, lots of business is done and introductions are made. It’s now a comfortable community of support for entrepreneurs.
Adrian’s Network has around 400 members, mostly in the NYC metro area, but members are located all over the globe. Networking happens through calls, face-to-face meetings, events, and digital webinars. For many people, being able to make connections and share community and support no matter where you are is a welcome change to networking events that are locally focused. Interested in becoming a member? Click here to learn more!
About Adrian Miller
Adrian launched her sales consulting business 26 years ago and since then has worked in pretty much every industry, with companies large and small. She brings passion and enthusiasm to everything she does and is well known for her sense of humor and highly practical & results-driven approach. Adrian is the author of “The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success,” “The Blatant Truth: How to Not Screw Up The Customer Service Game,” and “Dispatches From the Frontline: Musings on Sales, Business Development and Networking” a collection of her popular articles and blog posts. She can learn more about her at adrianmiller.com