Call me old school but I am a serial social networker, meaning whenever there is a live networking opportunity, I am out with people as much as possible. The number of people in the room makes no difference. It can be a room of two (including me) to a room busting at the seams with people.
Social media is a great business tool but for this article I am talking about pulling out your net and casting at networking events.
I have been to all sorts of gatherings and there are all kinds of people in attendance. Some are connecting with old friends. Some are connecting with new acquaintances. Some are looking for a possible business connections. Depending on the event, some are even looking for a possible love connection. It is all these variables that make networking interesting. It truly is a place to brush up on your human communication skills. It is easier to text than it is to look someone in the face and have a conversation. It is also more rewarding when there is a human connection in these times of so much technology.
In the case of travel networking, what better subject to bring up then vacations. Everyone or at least most people would love to take a vacation. You don’t have to necessarily sell the vacation, all you have to do is bring up the topic.
Here is a great example; once I was at Starbucks putting cream into my coffee. A man was getting sugar for his coffee and he made the comment “what a great ring”. I replied, “thank you, it is the Sun Eagle mask, my wife bought it to me for our anniversary when we were visiting an art gallery in Haines, Alaska on a cruise. Have you ever been on a cruise?” We talked for a little while and exchanged business cards. While he may not have booked a cruise, we did have an opportunity to use our social tool of networking to start a conversation. The key here is that a connection was made. I gave his card to a friend who was looking for his type of business service. Part of networking is the process of win-win. Maybe today I help someone with a lead and tomorrow I am introduced to a key person for my business.
Social events are not only a place to participate but to also observe. Who seems to command an audience when they enter the room, who sits at a table and does not talk to anyone, who comes up to you first, who smiles the most. There are so many opportunities just waiting to happen, but first you must show up. So go out and use your net, see what it may bring your way.
Keith Powell is a renowned travel industry speaker and author. Having crisscrossed the globe from Bangkok to Cannes, from Rio de Janeiro to Vancouver, Keith has presented before a vast array of audiences. Known as “The Business Revivalist,” Keith’s passion is in helping entrepreneurs grow professionally. His book “The Transforming Power of Achievement” is available at www.keithpowellspeaker.com.