I’ve been consciously cultivating connections through live events for decades now. In addition to having a blast, I’ve also found them to be the #1 source of new clients, lasting friendships and powerful collaborations that have exponentially grown each of my businesses.
So, when COVID hit and all live events came to a screeching halt, I, like you, adjusted to the change and got my “zoom vibe” going.
While it was a convenient way to stay connected and continue to expand my network of amazing people, it still left a void I didn’t realize I was missing.
Then, last week I strapped on my heels, dawned my favorite “event outfits” and attended my first live event in 2½ years.
So… sensing you too may be stepping out and attending live events, I am sharing below, my 7 Tips for Consciously Connecting. They represent my personal manifesto on how to show up with purpose and intention to any event, and create deep, meaningful connections that enrich your life and grow your business.
Tip #1: Make time to connect.
The first thing you need to do to cultivate meaningful connections is make room in your life and calendar. Whether you clear the decks for a 3-day out of town event, or reserve two afternoons a week for connect calls, you will never expand your circle of support without making connection a top priority.
Question: What event will you attend next and where in your calendar can you make room for connect calls each week?
Tip #2: Act like the host.
Entering a space, where you don’t know others who are there, can be intimidating and at times terrifying. When I’m in this situation I call upon the words of advice shared by a friend many years ago that has worked every time. When you don’t know a soul in the room, act like the host. Look for someone who seems a bit out of sorts or uncomfortable and approach them with a desire to put them at ease. Just like a host, make them feel seen by asking them engaging questions, and then invite them to mingle about the room with you. This makes approaching small groups less intimidating and everyone wins.
Tip #3: Get curious.
Have you ever been in a conversation where you can never get in a word or feel like the other person has an agenda that serves only them? Don’t be that person…approach every interaction with a genuine sense of curiosity. Ask questions, listen intently, and encourage them to expand even more. By approaching each interaction with a genuine intention to discover something remarkable about the other person, you leave a lasting impression and allow the magic to unfold.
Tip #4: Show up and serve.
What I love most about trusting my gut when it comes to networking, is that I am always amazed at the synchronicities that unfold. When walking into a room I often send up a brief prayer, saying “Please connect me with those I am meant to serve.” This is not a request for a beeline to a potential client, but rather a prayer to uplift, encourage, or be of service to others in the room. Sometimes I share a resource that would be helpful, point them to someone they need to know or simply offer words of wisdom or encouragement.
Tip #5: Commit to nurturing new connections.
One of my favorite examples of creating conscious connections involves my amazing friend, Patty Farmer. We first met when we shared the stage at an event in San Antonio, Texas 7 years ago. It was an instant connection. But friendships don’t evolve on their own… they take time and vigilance. We have connected about every 4 months, over all these years, making the time to support each other. Today, we continue to find ways to be of service to each other, whether it’s as a sounding board, a reminder of who we are or an introduction to someone the other should know.
Tip #6: Connect “outside” the meeting room.
I can’t begin to count the times over the years where it was in the foyer, the lobby, a vendor booth, the restaurant or even the hot tub, where some of my greatest friendships and favorite clients were found. Granted, this requires a bit of vulnerability, especially if you are on your own, but well worth the courageous effort. Whether you head down to the meeting 30 minutes early, mingle during breaks or look for new friends to dine with, stay out of your hotel room and let the magic happen.
Tip #7: Be willing to make the first move.
One of my favorite stories of cultivating connection happened 14 years ago at an event held by my friend, Marcia Wieder. A man stood up to ask a question I thought was particularly insightful. Just then, a small voice said, Jane, you need to know him. So, without even thinking twice I approached him during the break and said, “Hi, I’m Jane. I’m not sure why, but I think I’m supposed to meet you.”
Not only did that man, John Dulworth, become a client, a friend and then joined my team as our resident coach, we are still buddies today and I have the joy of attending his weeding in New York this summer.
What if I had not followed my gut, taken a risk, and pushed past the awkwardness of making the first move? I would have missed out on 14 lovely years of fun and friendship with one of the coolest people I know.
How about you? Are you making room in your life to consciously cultivate meaningful connections?
Are you willing to take a small risk for potentially big rewards?
If you would like to find out where you are on the Conscious Connection spectrum, do something fun and take just 2 minutes to complete my Networking Mastery Check-in. It’s a fun way to celebrate where you feel strong and discover places you can grow. When you do, you will be rewarded with new friends, cool clients, and powerful partners as well.
Looking for inspiration for creating a plan to take your business to the next level? Find out where you are on track in business and what missing pieces may be holding you back. Click here to take the Business Acceleration Quiz. I’ll respond with some thoughts and inspiration. ;0)
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