How can you change your mindset about networking is a guest blog, written by Gemma Sanchez, from Grow Your Mindset.
My work is all about mindset. My business is named Grow Your Mindset. It’s here where day in day out I, and those I support and work with, understand thoughts, behaviours and language that make us who we are.
In my business, I know my mindset is malleable and that I can change how I approach things, so it’s interesting about how this has also applied to networking.
I must admit when I first came across the idea of networking I thought it was all a bit of a fad. I’d been to a few different networking meetings and found them to be quite ‘clicky’, false and an overwhelming urgency to gather sales. I’d been really turned off by this and was beginning to think networking wasn’t for me or my business. However, late one evening, scrolling through my LinkedIn, I came across Business Over Breakfast and decided to give networking one more try. It was at my very first BoB meeting that my mindset changed about networking.
Business Over Breakfast
From my very first meeting, the atmosphere was very different to anything I had experienced before. The people showed a genuine interest in my work, my business but also me as a person too. It wasn’t all work, work, work. This made me feel really comfortable in their presence and it felt really easy chatting to them about their businesses and their lives outside of work too. Their sense of humour was right up my street too, which at 7am in the morning is definitely needed! I had found the networking group I wanted to be part of, wanted to get up at 7am for and wanted to spend time with.
Rossendale BoB Club
I’ve been a member of the Rossendale BoB club for just over two years now and can honestly say I still look forward to my 6am get ups every other week to meet up with this special team. Yes, I’ve passed them business and yes they’ve supported me, but also I’ve made a great new set of friends too, who I enjoy spending time with outside of work, walking, running and lunching with. Which during what has been an interesting time for many, has saved my sanity and kept me mentally well.
Networking in a pandemic
During the lockdown down and continuous restrictions, things were difficult for many as a business owner and I was one of the many who had never heard of ‘Zoom’ before. ‘How can we possibly network from home? I’m trying to keep my business going, I haven’t got time to network,’ were just some of thoughts that I and others had. However, I was determined to change this mindset to something more positive, optimistic and hopeful and give this ‘new’ experience a chance. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.
To be honest in those first few months, we didn’t give each other referrals and not many of us asked, but what we did do was provide each other with a sympathetic ear and offer support and advice in any way we felt we could to keep everyone motivated to keep on going, providing a little escape from what the world was throwing at us. No judgement, come as you are.
Learnings from Networking
I think what I’ve learned from BoB is that not all networking is the same and it’s about finding one that suits you. We are essentially, social creatures, whether we believe it or not and networking is perfect for doing this. It allows you collaborate with others and keep your mental wellbeing renewing and if you know anything about Growth Mindset, you’ll understand that these are some of the behaviours that the most successful people develop and show.
So to draw things to a close, I thought it would be useful to give you some little tips for getting the right mindset for networking.
Mindset Tips For Networking
- Try all sorts – don’t assume all networking groups are the same. Try different ones and look for elements that you enjoy. Try online, try face to face, try mornings, try lunches, afternoons or evenings. Try freebies, try paid. You’ll find you get different experiences and outcomes at each.
- Go to give, not to take – If you go networking just thinking about your own sales, you are going to put people off and would be taking advantage. Help out first and build relationships. Take time to get to know your networking group.
- Be positive and gives things a try – Even if you are not sure about a networking group, a person who attends or even the operational side of how things are run, give it a chance. Looking back I was sometimes very quick to make a judgement on something after 2 hours. As with anything that is new and outside our comfort zone, we need to give it time before we make our minds up.
So, not sure about networking? Change your mindset and great things can happen.
Gemma Sanchez, who is the author of this blog, is an expert in mindset.
I’d like to thank Gemma for preparing this guest blog for us. To find out more about Gemma, feel free to get in touch with her directly.
There are more free business and marketing resources here including business guest , marketing and networking blogs. Plus the Be Better With Tracy Heatley podcasts, which are specifically for small business owners, are available too.
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