More than two dozen Marin business owners and managers followed that advice this week, showing up to “Network Like a Pro,” a June 7th seminar hosted the Mill Valley, San Rafael, Corte Madera and Tiburon Chambers of Commerce at the Town Center Corte Madera.
The workshop was led by Tim Hoyle, a national speaker whose company, Motivation According to Hoyle, has been teaching companies how to leverage the intrinsic motivations of employees to improve their performance and accelerate business objectives.
“Most of us know that networking is about showing, bringing business cards, shaking hands and looking people in the eye – so what’s the challenge?” Hoyle said at the outset of his interactive, oft-hilarious presentation. “For those of us who find networking challenging, it’s all about changing behavior. It’s about desensitizing yourself to feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of networking.”
The solution: Repetition. Hoyle used his own fear of snakes, and how to overcome it. He walked attendees through a series of interactions with snake-related items, from a snake video to a rubber snake to seeing an actual snake in person.
“It’s about reconditioning your brain through a series of repetitive interactions,” Hoyle said. “What makes you a great networker? The number of times you show up to a networking event and deal with that awkward feeling. You all have moments in your life when you can be comfortable with who you are – relaxed, gracious. It’s about how many times you can show up to a networking event and do your best.”
Once you’ve put yourself in that environment, it’s about making connections and getting leads, Hoyle said. To do so, Hoyle pointed to a “one legged man wearing lipstick,” a humorous, memorable example of selecting something very brief and specific about the type of leads you are seeking.
“You want to give people just one thing to look for, so that when they see that one lead they know to associate it with you,” he said.
From there, the group dove headlong into one-on-one networking interactions, practicing their “elevator pitch” and their personalized version of “one legged man wearing lipstick.”
“All of this takes practice – when you get it right, it’s going to feel great,” Hoyle added.
MORE INFO ON TIM HOYLE.