Forget about what you know. Instead, consider the people you know or the ones you might meet. Make sure networking is part of your brand building mix and try speed networking for promoting yourself and your business.
Networking with the right people is the ultimate resource. I recently scored an appearance on ABC's popular Sunday show, Here and Now, to promote my business and my brand. All it took was speed networking.
Like many entrepreneurs, I understand the importance and value of time, talent and worth. My brand is Karen Taylor Bass, PR expert and "Brand Mom" bi-monthly guest expert on WPIX-11 in New York. My business is consulting to corporations, entrepreneurs and individuals about on how to position their brands via media campaigns. I also do PR coaching, while simultaneously positioning myself as the go-to expert on as it relates to all things strategy and branding. How do I do this? By spicing up the networking with some speed and momentum.
You know networking is the best tool to secure new opportunities, but you have limited time and resources to leverage your brand to score a potential client or a new job. How about a little speed networking at an after-work gathering, conference, mixer or phone outreach?
Speed networking is a creative way for entrepreneurs to meet substantial business contacts, secure referrals and network in a friendly, uplifting environment, in a matter of hours.
Why speed it up?
I've tried countless strategies to secure new business and keep existing business. Although technology is an amazing tool with few filters, nothing beats the old-fashioned way of doing business: face-to-face.
Making a pitch to someone involves nerves, sweaty hands and maybe even a forced smile or two, all while trying to be genuine in some way. I learned that pressing RESET on my approach and getting comfortable with speed networking helped me grow my brand. When things get stagnant, sometimes you have to shake it up and go back to the basics to stand out.
Check out Meetups for a little more detail on speed networking and various events.
Karen Taylor Bass' tips to speed networking like a rock star
- Sell your rock-star status. The Internet is a force; strategic participation in social networking is a must for companies/clients to find you and for you to build brand awareness.
- Dial up a signature look and style to stand out in a crowd. Channel your most and authentic and comfortable self.
- Prepare a smart and succinct two-minute brand pitch. Engage your colleagues and promote your expertise.
- Listen. Listening, too often a lost art form, is the best way to communicate and learn.
- Collect business cards and meet new colleagues.
- Engage, promote and embody the brand you want to be.
- Take notes on new business contacts, writing down keywords to remember the person for a follow-up.
- Work the room solo during the reception to get out of your comfort zone.
- Follow up with all potential contacts and referrals within 48 hours by sending an actual greeting card. Mix it up: send Christmas or holiday cards in June and Valentine cards in December. Set your own tone and be noticed.
- Make a poor pitch. Make certain your pitch is interesting (who, what, when, why and how you are a force in your industry).
- Include a tagline (what your business is known for), target audience, your niche and any accolades you've received.
- Communicate a lack of confidence. Believe in your brand each and every time.
- Fail to follow-up. It is reported that 90 percent of business leads are not procured. What's the point of making an initial contact if you're not going to take the next step?