When “branding” meets “networking”…

I am one of the moderators at JBNF, a monthly meet up forum for business folk in the Jerusalem region. This week, we conducted a frantic session of speed dating; 40+ people getting to know each other’s commercial strengths inside 90 minutes.

I was drained by the end of it. And yet, the results were clear as people left the hall. It was more than the swapping of business cards. Meetings were being fixed up. Interviews and site visits were arranged. Seminar material was being snatched up. And much more.

Interspersed amongst the one-on-ones, we arranged for 3 guests speakers to give tips about how to network; the importance and structure of an elevator speech, how to listen to others with empathy, moving out of our comfort zones – these were just a few of the themes mentioned.

What did it boil down to? When you network, you are showing off your own brand. And remember:

Before seeking the spotlight, the first question you should answer is, “What do I have to offer that no one else can?”

I told the story of how so many of us, when faced with a reception where we know nobody, end up spending most of our time creating an in-depth relationship with a glass of orange juice. In fact, a quick look around will probably reveal 30 other people in a similar situation. The trick is to start talking to them and to create new hubs of contacts. Draw them in to your circle – after all, as they are probably just as bored as you, they will be only to happy to talk to you.

And that’s the point. Moving out of your comfort zone may not be easy at first. However, as most of us find once we have moved on, the new level is just as satisfying as your previous set up. Surprise!

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