This past week I had a chance to connect with one of the members of our community, Hira Ali of Advancing Your Potential and Revitalize and Rise. In our chat she encouraged me to share what I know about networking. It’s not a sexy topic, and most people report to dread networking. But Hira was so excited about it and assured me many women want to get better at networking so it doesn’t feel so intimidating or stressful.
She convinced me and so here I am talking to you about networking. If fact, as I started to record my thoughts on networking I realized this wasn’t going to be one 100% Jodi episode, it is actually going to be two with a potential third episode thrown in the mix.
Life Before the Need to Network
What you have to know about me is that when I started my business in the Fall of 2010 I was at a disadvantage because of the size of my network, especially here in Maine.
I had moved to Maine in 2002 and even though that was plenty of time to meet and get to know a small army of people, I didn’t.
At that time I was more focused on doing my best at work and that did not require me to get to know anyone but my co-workers. It was through work that I formed my closest friendships after moving to Maine.
Even when I became passionate about working out and running it was something that happened by teaming up with my co-workers.
I didn’t even reach out to my neighbors because when I wasn’t working or exercising I wanted to be by myself or I was travelling back to Massachusetts to visit family and friends.
What I hadn't grasped at the time was I could have benefited from knowing professional women who worked for other companies. Such women could have been a valuable resource as I was developing as a leader in my own company.
Venturing into Networking
I felt a little awkward when I first joined Business Networking International (BNI). I didn’t have a lot I could contribute but it was because I joined BNI that I’m so good at networking now.
I remember the phases I went through as a networker from feeling like I didn’t know anybody and didn’t know what I was doing, to gaining a little bit of confidence after I passed a quality referral to another business owner; to walking into a networking event and knowing at least 10 people in the room and on to where I am now.
Now I’m at the point in my networking evolution that I’ve been referred to as a Connector, a serial networker, and a master networker.
I’ve overheard people telling the person next to them that they needed to meet me because I knew everyone. This is obviously not true. There are some occasions that a colleague will say after I indicate I don’t know someone, “I can’t believe I know someone that you haven’t met yet.”
My point in sharing all this is that if I can hit this level of networking in less than 6 years you can make a lot of progress in a relatively short period of time. I’m even going to give you some insights so that your learning curve is a lot quicker than mine was.
Listen in as I dispel 8 common myths about networking.
altMBA: Seth Godin’s altMBA workshop is an intensive leadership and management workshop designed for changemakers who have a fire in the belly. This is for people who are itching to level up and make a bigger impact. Find out more at: altmba.com/womentakingthelead
Zebralove Web Solutions: Your website tells a story about your business! At Zebralove Web Solutions, Milly and her team are going to make sure your website tells the story you want your customers to hear. Connect with Milly at zebralovewebsolutions.com to create the impression you want to make!
Private Facebook Community: Chat, share and collaborate with other women in the community!
Accomplished: How to Go from Dreaming to Doing: A simple, step by step system that gives you the foundation and structure to take your goals and make them happen.
The Accomplished Community: A community of entrepreneurial Type A women uniting to achieve their biggest goals with confidence, integrity and a sense of humor.