Business Networking | A Huge Waste of Time, or Humanity’s Greatest Hero?

Originally posted at Pro/Vision Coaching.

A lot of people blog for their businesses simply to get better SEO (search engine optimization) for their website, thus leading to a higher search engine ranking and more clicks to their site. This is not a bad practice, whether you are in Omaha, Nebraska; Seattle, Washington; or anywhere else in the world. It is obvious (and truthfully, good practice) to make sure your business is known publicly and easily assessable. And as a business coaching firm, we would advise you to do just that. The world of the internet is a great way to make that happen (and also to sneak in wonderful keywords in THIS blog entry), but not the only way to get known and make your business successful.

Sometimes you just have to stick your face out there and be seen. Or do you? History has been faithful in teaching us that if you stick your face in front of a fan it might get cut off, or if you step out on a road you may get run over. Is growing your business really worth that risk? In the online game of Second Life—one of the fastest crazes to die in the last 10 years—you create a personal avatar (that can be you, or anyone you want to be) and go through “life” in the digital world. You are even able to buy products for your Second Life home, such as a TV from the Best Buy store in the game (which costs REAL money, by the way), or you could commit a crime inside the game and do hard time.

–Funny YouTube Clip on SecondLife–

If you are not like the 2 current members of the worldwide Second Life community, you prefer to live your life in the real world – and take note – that’s a good thing! But even so, many people are still uncomfortable with the idea of face-to-face business networking, and some of you may not even know what it is. Here are some questions I am often asked about the subject:

Q: Is it true that if you try to sell at a networking event, you will be captured and tossed into a dark cave beneath the Chamber of Commerce with a lonely, starved tiger? A: No. Ever since the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal, all the underground Chamber tigers have been released into the wild. Last I heard all but three tigers were accounted for at local area zoos.

Q: Ok, so they may not throw you to your death, but is it a bad idea to try and sell at a networking event? A: Yes. Even though your life should NEVER be at risk during networking, the goal is for you to build relationships with other networkers, thus building a community. People who come in and try to sell their wares right off the bat often miss out opportunities for future business growth.

Q: If I am allergic to shellfish and go to a networking event that serves it, should I eat it anyway and hope for the best? A: Do you always carry an EpiPen with you? Q: No. A: No. Allow me to say again that your life should NEVER be at risk during an event.

Q: Really? Last week I walked past a booth at a trade and they were literally shoving fried shrimp down my throat. Though I was able to run away, I lost my bag of goodies from the show. I think they were a rogue group of ___________________. (Mad Libs: Name an Industry of Your Choice) A: Seriously? That’s pretty crazy.

After all is said and done, if you go to a networking event with a sincere desire to meet people, learn about their businesses (first!) and then, when given the opportunity, share about how yours can be a benefit to people, you will do well. You may not end up being the hero networker, but it certainly won’t be a waste of time. Just keep an eye out for wandering tigers if you live in ___________________, __________________, or ____________________ (Mad Libs: Names of Cities).

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