Effective networking is about creating connections and building trust. The power of storytelling can make all the difference to being impactful. Businesses can build effective business networks by learning practical ways to improve the way they connect with others and approaching networking intentionally.
Hosted by local experts Merrin Munroe and Michelle Scheibner, attendees learnt ways to create relationships and build effective networks. Merrin and Michelle shared some of their networking wisdom and practical tips:
Personal branding highlights our strengths, values, passions, and inner beauty, so that others can see through any distractors that may impact how we are judged and turn the invisible visible.
A clear personal brand allows us to stand out from everyone else and be remembered by the right people, for the right reasons. A personal brand can be a colour (bold, muted, a particular shade), a fashion style (retro, avantgarde, hippy, corporate), a passion project (charity, local service, hobby), a demeanour (calm, energetic, problem solver), or anything that makes you memorable.
Meeting someone new can be daunting, but one thing to help you create conversations is mutual connections. It’s amazing how many people you might know that other people know too, so asking questions to discover people you have in common gives you a great starting point in getting to know others.
The way you tell a story can make all the difference. Rather than telling people how great you are, or trying to sell them your services, sharing your skillset via storytelling and exchanging emotions helps to make your interactions more memorable. It can take practice to reframe your conversations as a story, but a starting point is to share a challenge that your customers face, the part you play in tackling that challenge, and the results achieved.
It is common at networking events for most attendees to speak to people they know in the room first and find it challenging to talk to people they do not know in an interesting way. With research showing that 70-80% of business comes through networks, it is important to broaden your contacts. Investing time in networking can reap far more benefits if you push yourself to connect with new people, so it is important to have a plan and be prepared.
With a unique blend of a semi-technical background and a keen marketing sense, Merrin is deeply passionate about elevating small businesses online. She thrives on building genuine, lasting relationships with her clients and, with her tech-savvy touch, she effortlessly helps them navigate and overcome technological overwhelm, all while adding a sprinkle of humour to the mix.
Michelle is committed to bringing the most current thought leadership to Personal Brand Strategy. She brings a distinctive lens to her coaching and mentoring practice established in 2004 and grown through networks. Michelle has over 25 years of experience working with executives and business leaders, including C-Suite, and has held management and leadership positions in education, consulting and business development.
Mornington Peninsula Shire runs seasonal networking events as a part of the Building Better Business Networks program. It is one way Council is supporting local business and playing their part in re-energising the economy. To find out about upcoming opportunities, subscribe to the MP Business newsletter.