Business Networking: Use the Buddy System

The Networking Buddy System

The Networking Buddy System

Does walking into a room full of people at an event, conference or networking meeting feel intimidating or uncomfortable to you?

You are NOT alone!

(Confession time – it scares my stilettos off sometimes, too!)

Nobody said that you have to network on your own.  In fact, isn’t it more in line with what networking is all about to do it WITH someone else?

This is where The Buddy System comes in.

1.  Choose Your Buddy.
Choose a friend or colleague who knows enough about you and your business to talk about it to someone new.  Also, look for someone who actually LIKES networking, or one who is good at it or someone who is committed to using relationship building as part of growing her business.  This will ensure that you don’t end up hiding in a corner somewhere exchanging networking horror stories instead of making great connections. 

2.  Share Your Goals.
Before going to the event, be sure to share your networking goals and what you hope to accomplish by attending.  Set 1 or 2 measureable goals ( Ex. make 3 new contacts in the banking industry or polish and perfect my new introduction/elevator pitch by using it at least 5 times, etc.).  Share with your “buddy” any areas that you wish to have help with and be specific about how they can support you during the event.

3.  Take Turns Taking the Lead.
Attend an event together and alternate “taking the lead.”  Take turns approaching new people and introducing one another to the people you meet. When making introductions, “brag” for your partner a little by telling the new contact why your “buddy” is so good at what they do.  It always sounds so much better when someone else toots your horn!

4.  Support and Encourage.
Be supportive and encouraging to one another and offer constructive feedback regarding your connecting skills.

The purpose of going with a buddy is to alleviate some of the stress and awkwardness that comes from being “all on your own.”  It also gives you a great way to be accountable for achieving your connecting goals.

Have you ever used the Buddy System?  If so, hit reply and let me know your experience and any tips you have for making it a success.

Comments

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  1. I love this article Cathy! I think it is hard for many of us (and I would say especially many women) to enter a strange room alone. However, you also don’t want to go to a networking event and only speak with someone you already know. Your tips keep that from happening!

    I would like to share this article in my online paper, Access Profiles – “Week in Review”. A new edition comes out every Wednesday and I would like to share this in the 03/06/2013 issue.

    Here is a link to my paper if you would care to check it out: http://paper.li/KimKline16/1358369457

    I found your post through the LinkedIn group, Pittsburgh Professional Women.

    Thanks, Kim Kline

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Thanks, Kim!

      There are still times when I freeze or have to take a few deep breaths before walking into an event or unfamiliar setting — and I LOVE networking! :-) The key is to remember that you have value to offer the world in what you do and who you are. Changing our mindset around networking will allow us to truly use our gifts and talents.

      I’d be honored to have this in your online paper — I’ve emailed you directly.

      Cathy