Sunday, November 13, 2011

Expand Your Comfort Zone

As you enter the room of networkers, you make a choice. Do you opt to go straight to your co-workers, friends, and business associates where you spend the event talking to people that you know? Or do you go the opposite direction and engage people that you don’t know?

Since the primary networking purpose of attending events is to figure out who you should meet with one-on-one, then getting out of your comfort zone and connecting with people that you don’t know makes the most sense.

While this seems very logical, it is rarely the path of most would be networkers. At the next event you attend look around and you will observe big clumps of people who already know each other. You’ll most likely see herds of people from the same company. They cling to each other because they have determined no personal objective or direction and the herd represents safety.

Spending an event talking to people that you know wastes an enormous amount of potential energy. These are people that you have access to. They’ll take your call. You know what type of resource they are and how you would connect them given the opportunity. You have attended an event, invested significant time, and gained no leverage.

When you leave the herd you will make new connections that will surprise and delight you. As you do this more and more you will find yourself taking the middle seat on airplanes and sitting at tables of all new acquaintances at events. Each new person that you get to know expands your base of knowledge and relationships...your sphere of influence.

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