September 11, 2012 by Jeff James, Vice President & General Manager, Disney Institute
Networking is a great way to share your ideas and best practices and create new opportunities for yourself or your business. It can also be incredibly uncomfortable for anyone disinclined to label themselves an extrovert.
Because the benefits so greatly outweigh the costs, Vanessa Merit Nornberg of Inc.com has identified three ways to attack a networking conversation."Listening is the best way to start a conversation."
Vanessa observes that most people begin a networking conversation from the perspective of what they can say about themselves. Instead, ask questions, even if they are related to things you would have spoken about yourself. You may find yourself with a new perspective you hadn’t previously considered."Honesty begets honesty."
It’s tempting to put our own PR pitch on how well our business is doing. But, as Nornberg notes, being honest about the issues your facing may lead to valuable learning opportunities. It may even save your business."Everyone has something interesting to impart."
It’s easy to tell ourselves that those outside our industry wont have specifically applicable knowledge to impart. Resist that urge. The entrepreneur printing t-shirts may have your next great promotional idea up their sleeve, that consultant may know a little something about website design. All in all, be aware that ideas come in all sizes and shapes.
Your next great idea may come from a networking opportunity, an opportunity you chose to take.