Networking Scares Me!

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Networking Scares Me!

By: Audrey Burton

When I started my business, if I knew then what I know now I either would not have started it or I would have become profitable much faster! Everyone who has their own business needs to learn an incredible amount.

Perhaps the most important business tenet is so simple - you make money when you sell stuff. To sell stuff, you market. To market effectively, it's important to specify a segment of the market to whom to target your marketing message. Then you give them your message and they buy!

Let's say you have already done much of the preparation. You've selected a target market; you did the features/benefits analysis for your product and company and researched where your target gathers. Then what? Once you figure out where they are and what you want to say, then what do you do?

In most small businesses, relationships are critical to your success. In building relationships with other small business owners, you have the opportunity to learn, find reliable vendors and business service providers, share best practices and get customers - directly and from referrals. You find these other business owners by networking. To many, this is a very scary concept. Do not be afraid!

Before showing up, make sure your elevator speech is customer focused. Honestly, nobody really cares about you; they are interested in what's in it for them. Why should they consider doing business with you or referring business to you from their customers? Practice in front of a mirror with a stopwatch if necessary, and make sure to smile appropriately. Review your features/benefits analysis for a confidence boost.

Then go where your ideal customers gather. If you're all sitting at a table, suggest you all pass your cards around to each other and do a 'round robin' where everyone takes a minute or two to give their 'elevator speech' (the 30 second or more speech you give where you pitch your company or service). You may volunteer to go first if you wish - sometimes that just gets everyone going.

Some networking groups allow each attendee to give their elevator speech to everyone in the room. The time for this usually varies from 30 - 90 seconds. One networking group with whom I regularly meet also passes a tray around the room with everyone's business cards.

If there are no formal networking opportunities at a meeting, all attendees will probably be milling around a room or lobby area striking up conversations with each other. Although this may be difficult, especially at first, just walk right up to a group of people in conversation and listen. Everyone in the room knows you are all there for the same thing - networking - and will usually welcome you into the conversation.

Tips: # 1 Keep your business cards in your left pocket, easily accessible. When you are shaking hands with someone, you can easily reach into your pocket and get a business card. # 2 Wear a name badge, and write clearly if it is a sticker. # 3 Smile. # 4 Ask others about their businesses first. This is more of a networking rule! # 5 Have something to say. Take your elevator speech and boil it down to about 10 words/7 seconds. # 6 After a few minutes, move on to other people.

You may want to ask for help from the leader or organizer of the group or event. Ask them to introduce you to people in your target. If you run out of things to say, ask open-ended questions. "Why are you here today? Who is your ideal customer? What is your biggest business problem?" are a few that work well. You are showing interest and qualifying them at the same time.

After you leave the event, send everyone you met a "Nice to meet you" email. If you want to maximize the effect of your networking, ask if you can get to know them better by meeting one-on-one to learn about each others' businesses for purposes of referring to each other. Use the phone for your best customer/referral prospects. This is where the real power of networking kicks in. It is very unlikely someone will trust you enough in 5 minutes to decide to refer their hard-earned customers to you!

Networking can get you customers, but keep a longer-term approach. Keep going back to the same groups and presenting a consistent message directed at your target market again and again. When your contacts are ready to buy what you're selling or come in contact with someone who is, they'll think of you first!

About The Author

Audrey Burton is a Business Coach. Audrey is a caring, but practical coach. Audrey's ultimate goal is to help women entrepreneurs to be happy and successful at work. She keeps her clients focused and motivated by helping them create a custom plan they can be excited about. To sign up for her fr*ee, monthly email newsletter and to better understand how she works, visit her website at I teach women entrepreneurs to be happy at work!


Tee J 08.07.2009. 05:52

Why is Michael Jackson on every channel and network? What do you guys think? RATINGS and Money !!! It's all about the ratings and money. Networks were scared that if they didn't cover the topic of Michael Jackson, then the other networks might sweep the ratings for the week. No network wanted to take the chance of getting blown out of the "Ratings War'" because they "didn't" cover Michael Jackson. You have to understand how popular this guy was and how many fans and curious viewers he could attract. People who don't even like Michael Jackson were watching just out of amazement at how popular the guy was and the legions of followers that he had. A network covering Michael Jackson could smell a "bonanza" heading their way with companies buying up commercial time and bidding higher than normal bids to advertise their products while hundreds of millions were watching !!! Michael was "the story" and no network wanted to be left out. Not covering Michael would not have been a smart business move. It's all about the money and ratings ! Let's not even get into companies purchasing air time for their product's commercials. Companies were bidding big time for spots on channels that were covering Michael's death. The "Bottom Line" here is that the Networks don't care and don't give a damn if a small minority or portion of society didn't want to see Michael Jackson coverage. The reality here is that the "Majority" of people did want Michael Jackson coverage and the Networks knew this and so did the companies that were willing to pay "big bucks" to those Networks for airtime and commercial breaks to advertise their products. This is a capitalistic society...It's always about the money. Michael was popular with "THREE GENERATIONS" of people ! That's three generations of "Consumers" ....millions and millions of people and potential profits all sitting in front of their televisions watching Michael Jackson coverage. All together huddled up in front of the family television. Lets be real... there were even people numbering in the thousands who don't normally even watch television but you better believe they turned on that TV when they heard Michael Jackson had passed away. Guess what they were watching with the rest of us during program breaks...that's right, Commercials ! $$$$ Cha-Ching $$$ The Networks are not stupid ...they can smell money making potential a mile away !!! Ratings and Money my friend...Ratings and Money. This is just my 2 cents ..what do you think ?

I love Michael by the way ...RIP

Tee J

Admin 08.07.2009. 05:52

of course its ratings and money! that is how the media functions
the sole aim of the media is to give the people what they want whether it be news, entertainment or in depth reports and as you said three generations knew MJ which is a lot of people wanting tributes and news on him


Snapple Monkey 17.02.2007. 00:21

What did Cartoon Network do that caused so much panic? A while ago I was flipping through the channels and spotted the news, it had something about some signs from Cartoon Network that scared a lot of people. I didn't get the story. What happend?

Snapple Monkey

Admin 17.02.2007. 00:21

Ignorantly Cartoon Network came up with an ill conceived publicity stunt revolving around items that were mistaken for bombs. There were a handful of people that were aware these items were for the Cartoon Network promotion. Thousands of others that saw them thought they were potential bombs. After the 9/11 attacks it's good to know that people are aware of there surroundings, and things that seem to be potentially dangerous. Cartoon Network however, didn't think about the potential problem they would be causing. Hopefully it won't happen again, but who knows.


someone has a broken wing 28.07.2008. 20:46

who had enough with the networks scaring us about the switch to dtv next february? i am because they should have started doing next month or during the fall and it is just a scare tactic which failed

someone has a broken wing

Admin 28.07.2008. 20:46

I know it is getting annoying too! It seems like we have been hearing about this for a year now!


Aaron 15.07.2010. 03:56

Why do young people use social networking sites to disclose abuse/assault rather than speaking to someone? Why do young people feel able to use social networking sites to disclose abuse/ assault or seek advice rather than speaking to someone face to face?

I am a student researching disclosures of sexual assault on social networking sites. To help my research I would really like to understand what are the impacts (positive & negative) of disclosing sexual assault or abuse on social network sites in particular for young people.


Admin 15.07.2010. 03:56

I think it's because the person feels really embarrassed and scared to tell someone just in case they pay a certain consequence for revealing it. However, I know not telling someone about the problem would result in issues as it can be hard to resolve the problem alone. It can also lead to depresssion and anxiety if the person keeps the issue to himself, and who knows what that depression can lead to as it does several thing. As for telling someone, it is more helpful. I know when you talk to someone, it makes you feel good and much better, and through that, you will receive lots of support and ways to solve the issue that will ease your situation, whether it s just talking to a friend, parents, or going to counseling. It will no doubt relieve the fear and anxiety.


orzoff 02.09.2009. 17:43

Will Comcast make Dish Network and others pay more for Versus Network like they did to DirectTv? I have DirectTv and I am furious at Comcast demanding more money for Versus Network forcing them to pull it from their lineup. I want to switch to Dish Network but I am scared that Comcast will do the same thing to them. What is the likelihood that this will happen?


Admin 02.09.2009. 17:43

I don't have an answer to that but I am ticked off too about versus. I have comcast and when they went digital I seem to have every single station but versus and that is one of the few stations I actually cared about. I did not get one of those digital boxs cause they cost like $20/month and why would I do that when I have a digital tv and still have all the channels even if they are messed up like 104-212 and stuff like that, but I still don't understand why we lost the versus channel I am really ticked off.


bluestorm2k 25.05.2006. 00:23

What is the best p2p network to use that has the least problems with spyware and malware? Which p2p file sharing network (such as Kazaa, Bearshare, IMesh, Livewire) is the best one to download and use in file sharing in regards to having the least problems with spyware and malware? And what are some tips in useing p2p networks safely?


Admin 25.05.2006. 00:23

limewire is getting well above 500,000 downloads a week from almost everyone in the p2p file sharing industry knows of and is scared of limewires power. limewire has came on strong and the latest versions contain no spyware adware or viruses. like all p2p file sharing programs be careful what folders you leave open to others as you can lose personel data. overall limewire has a great gui, great speed, and a wide variety of files available for download.


:) 10.05.2009. 02:13

What are the risks of having an unsecured network? My roommate set up the network and for some reason yesterday it was a secured network but today it's not. Until this problem is fixed, what are the risks of having an unsecured network? Does this just mean my neighbors can use our internet, or worse?


Admin 10.05.2009. 02:13

I'm a network engineer with 30 years of experience. Penetration testing and computer forensics of large networks is what I do for a living.

First, let me scare you. Nothing is secure from an expert, even when all indications say it is secure. When you know it's unsecured, you are at greator risk from the script kiddies, and they could potentially do anything on your network. Go out via your IP, make configuration changes on your workstations, change the code on your router and or cable/DSL modem, plant malware on your switch, or printer. Yes, I said printer.

Now lets talk probability. Odds are, the range of your network is limited so that only your imediate neighbors could utilize it. What are the odds that your imediate neighbors are experts or even script kiddies? Having your network open can actually protect you legally. If it's not secure, and illegal activity is taking place then you COULD have plausable deniability

If somebody like me were war driving, we look for a place we can park and can blend right in, and maybe access multiple networks, like in a area of several hotels.

You likely do not have too much to worry about.


Shortie 10.01.2011. 01:21

What are the chances of military personnel being targeted through social networks? Recently I've been hearing from alot of friends afraid to give out basic info because they are scared to get targeted as military members. What do you think the chances are of someone being targeted simply because they are military?


Admin 10.01.2011. 01:21

A lot actually. They have been debating on banning military members from social network sites. As a military wife (and military members as well) we have to follow OPSEC (<oken=48895c5) because the enemy is using the internet to get information about us.

Also military spouses have to be careful because people target us because they know we are alone a lot. That is why you aren't reccomended to say if you are even away from your home.


Nirushan G 03.10.2009. 14:59

How do you block someone from seeing your Network on facebook? This guys stalking my friend, and its creepy ...
She's getting scared cause now he know's what school she goes to.

Nirushan G

Admin 03.10.2009. 14:59

Don't know a whole lot about Facebook but to me it is not a safe place.

You don't know who the heck you are dealing with and it makes you very vulnerable to any number of evils, need I enumerate. Just close your account with it and never go back.

It's especially scary with family members because they may inadvertently give the wrong people personal information about you.

Think about it. Not good!


Chas Parry 21.04.2011. 07:16

Are people still having problems signing onto the Playstation Network? Is this still related to the hackers? I am unable to auto-sign into Playstation network and sometimes I cannot sign in at all. I keep getting the error message about being signed out of the network and the code 80710092. All I can find online is info from weeks ago, is this still happening to other people too?

Chas Parry

Admin 21.04.2011. 07:16

yes and maybe sony is just scared that they assume some accounts are hackers like you so they block them from the psn


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