Nobody likes networking. There, I said it (again).
I talk a lot about building a rock-solid network, but that’s for a reason–it really is that big of a deal. The stronger your business relationships are, the more impact your business will create. It’s that simple.
And of course, relationships start by meeting people. How do you meet people?
Networking, like it or not!
But that’s it right there–most people would rather sit through a root canal than go to a networking event.
That is why I, The Pitch Queen, am revolutionizing the idea of networking events! And it starts with giving them a new name (drum roll, please…)
Instead of the old, tired, painful idea of “networking events,” I’m reinventing them as COOPORTUNITY events.
Because in networking, just like sales, it is not about you. It’s about establishing mutually beneficial connections. And what better way to indicate a win-win than a word that sounds like “cooperate?”
So in the spirit of cooperation, I’m summing up all that I’ve learned about “networking” events into 7 steps that’ll have you looking forward to your next “coopportunity” chance!
These are the NEW 7 commandments of cooportunity events. Follow these and you’ll be sure to hit that next event not only as your authentic self but also in the spirit of service.
No more wading through events with wall-to-wall people. No more pressure to meet everybody in the room. No more fixating on finding your next big client.
You’ll be ready to make new connections without pressure, stress, or selling. And best of all, you’ll be putting out a vibe that will naturally attract the right people to you!
Kind of makes you want to drop what you’re doing and sign up for that next epic networking event right now, doesn’t it?
Let’s get into the NEW 7 Commandments of “Cooportunity Events” right here!
Commandment #1: Have a Plan BEFORE You Go. Knowing who you want to meet and what you want to get out of an event is crucial. But this time, I’m adding an extra play to your networking playbook.
Instead of focusing only on who you want to meet or perfecting your brandshake (a.k.a. your elevator pitch), add this to your list of pre-game questions…
Who do you want to attract the most with your message, and how can you help them?
Recently I went to an event in San Diego called “Traffic and Conversion” with a friend and colleague named John. John owns a juice bar called Vitality Tap, and it’s one of my favorite local hangouts. But lately, he’s been expanding his entrepreneurial horizons into another passion, real estate.
True, I went to this event intending to connect with the people that I wanted to meet (including keynote speaker Daymond John!). But I also had another mission: help John make connections in his new industry.
Turns out that I introduced John to three new people in the real estate field. And that pretty much made the event for him right there!
So create a plan to meet your people. But also aim to help others further their mission. That’s what being of service is all about!
Commandment #2: Be prepared both physically and mentally. Now, I’m not gonna lie. Coopportunity events can be straight-up exhausting. I’m an extrovert, and even I feel this way. And if you’re an introvert, that probably goes double for you!
So be aware of your boundaries, plan adequate recovery time, and do what you need to do to keep up your energy before, during, and after the event.
Now, one surefire way to up your energy level is the right outfit. It might sound a little superficial, but inspiring clothes can work wonders for your confidence!
I used to spend most of my days in Lululemon gear. That look fit my last business, FITzee Foods, to a T. But now that my brand evolved into what is now The Pitch Queen, leggings and workout wear don’t quite fill the bill.
So I’ve gone from exercise gear to what I call my “big girl clothes.” That is, outfits that both represent my brand and up my confidence level.
If your networking wardrobe could use a brand makeover, now is the time! What would that look like for you?
Maybe it would be wearing your brand colors. Or choosing accessories with your logo (like my Pitch Queen hats, for example). You might be like my friend and colleague Shameca Tankerson, whose trademark is her bold purple hair and lipstick.
Choose whatever represents your brand, be it yoga pants or a power suit. And let your outerwear shift your inner confidence.
Commandment #3: Focus on giving (and prepare to receive). Recall my friend John and how I introduced him to three new people at Traffic and Conversion.
Shortly after the event, I got the surprise of complimentary juices and smoothies, courtesy of Vitality Tap! (An awesome surprise for someone like me who lives on green juice and superfood smoothies!)
Be prepared to give. Share your brandshake, help others make connections, and be of service. You’ll find that your good deeds always come back to you, so prepare to receive, too!
Commandment #4: Show up early (or at least on time!) and often. You’ve heard it said about everything, from business to fitness to life itself: consistency is king. And cooportunity events are no different.
So start showing up on the regular and make coopportunity events a way of life!
Now, you don’t have to hit every event in town. But do make events a regular thing. Not only will you meet new people, but you’ll also build deeper connections with fellow frequent networkers in your area.
And as far as arriving on time? It’s priceless. Every event has experiences and opportunities waiting for you, so make yourself available for as much of it as possible. (After all, that’s why you signed up for the event in the first place, right?)
Commandment #5: Get to know the people who approach YOU. I bet you consider networking events a way to make new connections. But trust me, everyone else is thinking the same thing when they walk through that door.
Now, what if someone is attending a certain event in hopes of meeting YOU? If you’ve never considered that, start right now!
Recently, I was a featured speaker on a panel at an event called Dames Collective. For my part of the discussion, I dove into my favorite topic, selling without “selling.” And wouldn’t you know it, after the discussion was over, people queued up for a chance to connect with me!
It made me remember one key point: we have people we want to meet at events like this. And for someone out there, that person might be you. So be ready to meet the people who want to meet you.
Treat everyone the same, listen to their brandshake/elevator pitch, and see how you can be of service to those who take the time to get in your meet-and-greet line.
Commandment #6: Don’t ask, don’t sell. One thing that so many of us forget about networking events is that they’re NOT for selling. They’re about connection and service. No more, no less.
My friend John Lee Dumas has a podcast called Entrepreneur on Fire. He’s pretty much a rockstar in the podcast world, and in demand at just about every coopportunity event he attends.
But when his fans approach him for advice, does he sell them on his latest program or refer them to his community? Not at all. He answers their questions and supports them however he can.
Live events aren’t the time to brag about your accomplishments, recite your CV, or sell a new client on the spot. Connection and service is the name of the game, so make that your only objective.
Commandment #7: Be approachable (because you just never know…) One thing I can promise you is that we’re all born in our birthday suits. And one day, we’re all going to die.
I’m not saying that to be morbid, just to point out we’re all human. Nobody is above you or below you, no matter how it might seem. So there’s no need to be starstruck OR superior!
And at coopportunity events, that means being approachable. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seven-figure entrepreneurial legend or a brand-new bootstrapping business person.
How do you make yourself more approachable? One thing is to be conscious of your body language.
Here’s a curious fact: did you know that your thoughts show up in how you carry yourself?
That means that if you think someone is out of your league and you’re afraid to say hello, you’ll likely project that message with your posturing whether you know it or not.
How do you shift from feeling inadequate to empowered?
Just remember that we’re all human! The only difference between you and your heroes are that they’ve done more of the work.
And moreover, successful people want to pay it forward for those who genuinely seek guidance.
So keep tabs on what is going through your head, be aware of how it might be showing up on the outside, and adjust accordingly!
Remember that relationships are where it’s at, in business and in life. The more you connect with the right people, the more you help set everyone in the picture up for success.
So take these 7 commandments to heart, put them to work, and make a difference at your next big coopportunity event! Give them a try, then leave me a comment and let me know how they worked out for you!
P.S. Want even more details, stories, and pointers on the 7 Commandments of Coopportunity Events? Check out this episode of Coffee Is For Closers for even more insights on how to crush your next coopportunity event!