Networking is absolutely crucial to small business owners. Unfortunately, there are lots of lies and misunderstandings about networking. Knowing the truth about networking helps you build connections that could provide business opportunities. Check out MSNBC’s top three lies about networking.
1. "I can’t network if I'm not an outgoing person."
Go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief — you don't have to become "Mr. Public Speaker" to be a successful networker. Most people naturally develop a certain level of comfort in dealing with customers, vendors, and others in their day-to-day transactions.
There are many techniques that can make the process a whole lot easier — especially for those who consider themselves a bit introverted. For example, volunteering to be an ambassador or visitor host for a local business networking event can be a great way to get involved without feeling out of place.
When you have guests at your house or office, what do you do? You engage them; make them feel comfortable; you offer them something to drink. What you don't do is stand by yourself sulking about how you hate meeting new people. By serving as a visitor host at your local chamber event, you effectively become the host of the party. Try it, you'll find it much easier to meet and talk to new people.
2. "Person-to-person referral business is old-fashioned."
Yes, networking has been around a long time. It used to be the way that most businesses operated. In a small community everybody knows everybody, people do business with the people they trust, and they recommend these businesses to their friends.