When Networking Works and It Isn’t All about You

June 9th, 2011 by | Print

Does the title of this post turn you off? When you attend a live networking event, isn’t it all about you and your goals? How can you “succeed” if you aren’t taking care of your needs?

My kids and I had the honor of participating in a recent charity event for Fish for Life, a terrific NPO whose tagline is “spreading the love one boat at a time”. Fish for Life takes special needs children and young adults fishing from the Dana Point harbor in southern California. In addition to learning about fishing, these special anglers participate in a communal experience of watching dolphin, learning about some of the different sea life they catch and feeling honored by Fish for Life’s special red carpet introductions and awards.

When you seek out various live networking events in your area, have you considered giving of your time as a volunteer for a charity event? You can still achieve your goals of connecting with other possible partners and customers while benefiting a worthy cause.

Here are just 2 networking benefits you can gain from participating in a charity event:

1. Meeting new people in a relaxed setting.
Have you attended live networking events where it feels as if all those attending have their guard up because they don’t want to be “sold”, all they want to do is sell to you? In these settings, many attendees (you included) gear up with the goal of knowing the people they need to meet. When you participate in a charitable event, not only do you get the good will, but you have the opportunity to bond with other local movers and shakers who share a similar passion and want to get to know you because you bond over something other than business … in the beginning.

No, I am not suggesting that you give of your time for charity events just to network and see what business opportunities can benefit you. Quite the opposite. If you participate with this mindset, you will flag yourself as selfish, turning off those that are at the event. You need to go with a giving heart and not worry about your business in the beginning. However, when you work these events, the conversation naturally turns to questions of “So what do you do?” … and the doors start opening.

2. Experience how you can make a difference.
While making a living is an important reward, seeing how your skills can positively impact those in need is a priceless payoff. This is especially helpful if you seem to have lost some of the luster for loving your business. Giving of your time for a charitable cause can help you regain focus on what’s most important … getting from giving your best to others. The same holds true for your service of your customers. If you go in with a passion for positively affecting the lives of those that you serve, your rewards will be far greater than if you simple want to get to the green in their pockets.

BTW – My SmallBizMedia.TV partner, Maria, and I are very honored to be a part of helping Fish for Life grow. If you have a passion for helping those with special needs, or simply want to help, check out Fish for Life’s Facebook fan page. Simply by liking the page, you are helping to grow its exposure to help others with special needs.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

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