How to network with people authentically and win their heart: 8 ways to be genuine and be you
Gals and guys, I feel inspired. I’m back in the networking game after being in hiding for the past couple of years.
The word networking probably makes you cringe — I know! I used to feel that way too, but the more I integrate spirituality into my business, the more I approach networking differently now in the traditional business world.
I want to share what I used to do that didn’t work and how I’m networking on my own terms now. You’ll find this very enlightening!
What didn’t work
Way back when, I used to go to high speed networking events — you know, the kind where one side of the room plays musical chairs? You sit in front of one person for 3 minutes talking as fast as you can and when time’s up, they do the same. And then the whole row shifts one seat over so you meet the person who was sitting diagonally across from you.
The name of the game was speed, not connection. By the end of the event, exhaustion isn’t the word to describe the feeling. It’s actually solitary emptiness. I never made meaningful connections from those events, not only because of the format, but because I later realized those who wanted a meaningful connection wouldn’t find themselves there in the first place.
By the time I started my business in deal negotiation, I learned to meet new people differently — not by going to networking events, but by attending parties (always bring a posse!) and also by cold–calling companies I wanted to do business with. I would then fly, even halfway across the world, to shake their hand, make it personal and nurture the relationship.
It was thrilling to meet and work with movers and shakers — from international CEOs to presidents of casinos, foreign government officials, celebrities, wheelers and dealers, media bosses, entrepreneurs, politicians, creative folk and all. The name of that game was prestige.
What might work even better
Last night, I took myself to a women’s only event hosted by the American Women in Business Association. Believe it or not, it was the first time I ever networked with women. And as soon as I got there, I found myself enveloped in warm welcomes and kindness.
My experience made me realize how much I’ve grown the past couple of years. Finally, I arrived at a business event not looking to do business with anyone, but only to connect from heart to heart, however brief it was.
What I really wanted the most was for my new me to be seen. Not my façade, not the CEO, but the real me and also all of me. I decided that I wasn’t going to self–edit the parts that I thought wouldn’t be liked or accepted. I didn’t water myself down nor inflated my ego so I could fit in.
No matter what the interaction was, I simply allowed myself to connect from the heart and create value in the conversation. I talked about selling with heart and intuition with other sales professionals. I talked about real estate with Realtors. I talked about energy healing with chiropractors. I talked about creativity with creative folk. I even coached someone on the spot about her About Me page.
In other words, I met people at whatever level they were at.
This is a biggie, especially for those of us who are visionaries, iconoclasts, intuitives and lightworkers, who find it challenging to connect with people because of how differently we are wired.
The bonus for me to boot was that everybody I met was so enthusiastic that I design high end furniture, and this enthusiasm inspired them to introduce me to all of their friends. Their excitement was so validating to me, as if I already had fans before I even created the product.
The new way to connect
Networking, like sales, is no longer sleazy, slimy, icky and pushy — if you insist. The name of the name is not speed nor prestige. This movement is now about authentic connection from the heart.
Gone are the days where you size people up and toss them aside after realizing they’re of little use to advance your business or career. Done is the era where you shove business cards down someone’s throat. That type of connection does and still exists across the globe, but you get to choose and open your life up to deeper and meaningful connections with people.
So, how do you make the shift from the sleazy, slimy and icky way to the new authentic, heart–conscious and genuine way?
Here’s what I learned:
1. Make a genuine heart to heart connection with people, but not before you make a genuine connection with yourself.
Networking is as much an inner process as it is an outer one. It’s not all about business cards, feigning interest, collecting Facebook likes nor getting what you need. When you deliberately step into a social opportunity, it’s really about taking your light and shining it where you go. It’s about letting your true magnificence be seen by others.
If you can’t connect with yourself, you won’t be able to genuinely connect with others. Doing tons of shadow work helps reveal your light. Go within yourself to find out more. Who am I? How am I making myself purposeful in the world? Whose life can I contribute to? Where am I needed? Where can I shine my light?
2. Make a genuine connection with people who are outside your regular circle.
Nowadays, I spend a lot of my social time connecting with the woo community, but it’s important to connect with all kinds of people, especially if your business exists in the ‘traditional’ business world. Take your message everywhere. You never know how your light and grace can open the door for someone who is waiting for you to come along.
3. Be genuinely happy to be there.
Lots of people might attempt networking because successful people say you should. Then, they attend but half–heartedly, with wishy–washiness or unclear intentions.
Go to give. Go not to get. That’s the right energy and space to launch from.
Always stay connected to your inner compass. If you feel uncomfortable, make your exit. If you feel a certain person or area of the room is calling out to you, explore it. Take care of yourself by staying fully engaged with your inner world and intuitive senses.
4. Be genuine in every conversation.
Just because you’re at a networking event, it doesn’t mean you need to ‘achieve’ something at the end of every exchange. Just focus on having interesting, valuable conversations. You don’t need to force the conversation a certain way. Just go with the flow.
Lots of people still ask “So what do you do?” as their first question. I used to do that too, but now I find it to be too cold and limiting, as if I’m interviewing people for what I need.
Now, when I meet someone new, I ask, “So where are you from?” That opens up a space for the person to tell their story and get personal. You learn more about them, especially interesting things that you wouldn’t otherwise learn by just asking them what they do for a living.
5. Be genuine about everything you say.
Last year, I wrote a blog post about elevator speeches, and I evolved beyond that some more. You don’t need to wordsmith nor rehearse any elevator pitches nor figure out canned responses ahead of time. Just be yourself and be a spiritual person inside a physical body. That’s who you are, anyway!
You can name drop, if you have names to drop. I still do that. There’s no shame in it if what you’re telling is the truth.
6. Be genuinely okay if nothing happens.
Remember, you’re not going to a networking event hoping to ‘achieve’ something at the end of every exchange. If you meet a bunch of people and nothing happens on a business level, don’t worry about it. Not every connection is for sales or for business purposes.
Be genuinely thankful for every connection you made. The actual purpose is really for you to take your light and smile out into the world.
7. Be genuinely committed to making this a part of your business practice.
It’s time to stop hiding behind the computer or the website and be seen in the flesh!
I love the Internet for making our ideas and content so accessible to the world, but ideas without people are just floating concepts. To engineer them to reality, you have to take it out to the masses. It’s people who move money and ideas.
I also think that the Internet removes our sense of reality. Behind every Facebook like and behind every newsletter subscriber is an actual person. Spending too much time digitally can make you lose touch with that.
8. Celebrate yourself for having the courage to show up.
If putting yourself out there is difficult for you, I truly understand. After all, we are not just marketing any old business. We are trying to sell our soul, so to speak, and commercialize a piece of our heart. It’s a vulnerable act, to have others engage, review and critique what’s so tender and dear to you.
But get this: the more people you bring your heart to, the more people you gain to love it with you. That’s when what you do crosses over from being a business to being a movement.
The ‘reward’ you get for putting yourself out there? You’ll gain valuable life experience and a deeper understanding of what your purpose is in the world. Every conversation you have, however meaningful or not, reflects your ultimate purpose back to you. It reminds you of why you’re here in the first place, and it calls you to take action toward your next level of growth.
Are you ready to go out and meet new people? I’m already scouting for the next opportunity to connect. And maybe I will get to meet you in person someday soon.
Hi, I’m Ana Coeur
I teach entrepreneurs how to create their business straight from their soul. I offer a complete Intuitive Business Suite to help you create, design, write and sell all from your intuition. Here’s the services you can take advantage of to empower your business: Intuitive Web & Brand Design, Intuitive Copywriting and Intuitive Selling. If there’s anything I can help you with, I would love to hear about it! You may email me at anaintuitivepicture.com
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