Many of you frequent networking groups – both on-line and in person – for your chosen profession or just business networking in general. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets annoyed by the “newcomer” who professes to be trying to move their business forward but only has negative thing to say about the group or has an “attitude” about the suggestions and comments given by the group members in good faith.
How serious can you be about moving your business forward and getting referrals if you immediately come in with both guns blazing with negativity and are unwilling to consider the feedback that is being given?
Here are a few of my personal tips for new group members (I think these will work for just about any group):
- When you join a networking group, take the time to get the feel for how members communicate with one another. Is it a laid back and casual group or is it very regimented?
- Be CLEAR, CONCISE and SPECIFIC when you ask a question. Don’t just say, “How can I get more clients?” or “What do I need to start my business?” Entire books have been written on that subject. Better questions would be, “Has direct mail marketing worked for you?”, “What local networking groups have you found beneficial to your business?”, “I’m trying to decide between <software x> and <software y>. Does anyone have experience with these? Why did you like or dislike them?”
- Be prepared for a WIDE variety of responses to whatever question you ask. Every business person has been formed by their own experiences and will each have a different answer.
- If you can’t take constructive criticism, don’t ask for opinions about how you did something.
- If you can contribute to a conversation, please do – fresh ideas are what keeps groups alive!