Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

Janet Hilts – Performance Coach

Janet Hilts is a performance coach and stress-free speaking specialist, helping reluctant professionals confidently bring their gifts and passions to the world. She helps coaches, consultants, mentors and other professionals to open up their communication so their businesses can expand in new directions. You can contact her through her web site at Clearing-Pathways.com.

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Janet Hilts: Ultimately, exchanging resources is what networking is all about. Those resources come in all shapes and sizes – support, information, products, services. Somewhere in the mix, the goal is to have part of that exchange be someone’s eventual purchase of your services or products.

Networking is making solid enough connections with people to the extent that you trust each other’s recommendations. And that doesn’t happen in 90 seconds. That takes familiarity, and usually a little time or repeated contact with someone – in person or online.

It’s really important because people buy from people they trust or from people trusted by someone they know. That word-of-mouth marketing is the best! The more interconnected we are, the more channels we have — for finding exactly what we need for our own businesses and for getting the word out about what we do.

Josh: Can you share one idea that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Janet Hilts: One tip for networking events is to act as if you’re hosting these people in your own living room at a party. Do the things you would do there: Keep circulating. Approach people who are standing alone and ask them about themselves to get them to open up. Introduce people to each other. Keep your focus on making other people comfortable. Be sure to spend a little time with people you’ve met before – to continue building those relationships. This keeps your authentic self shining through and that’s who people really connect with.

Josh: Please share a bit about the work you do, and in particular how one could go about overcoming the fear sometimes associated with stretching beyond their comfort zone and meeting and connecting with others in a professional networking setting. Could you describe how that might work?

Janet Hilts: With a combination of performance coaching and some cutting-edge body-mind techniques, I help people disconnect the actual cause of the fear from their networking behavior. This frees them up to be very relaxed in those settings, easily talking about whatever they want to – as easily as they would at their own kitchen table.

First we do some detective work to uncover the inner links to the nervousness. And then we use some mind-body work to unhook those connections so that the experiences or beliefs that produced the fear no longer effect their networking today. And it’s permanent. Now they’re free to just be who they really are in whatever setting they’re in – and feel confident and relaxed about it.

Josh: Could you share a personal networking success story with us?

Janet Hilts: My story shows the benefit of networking with people in your own field – the ones some people might call competitors. I network with fellow coaches on Twitter, Facebook and discussion boards on BlogTalkRadio. I’m also quick to respond to comments on my blog, which is another form of networking.

A woman asked a question on a forum – not even looking for a coach. On that forum, another coach (who knew me through social media) recommended a blog post of mine she’d seen on Twitter. As a result, the woman read my post, looked around my website, and called me to book a coaching appointment. You never know through what roundabout channels your networking will serve you!

– Happy Networking, Josh Hinds 🙂
(Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)

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