Becoming A Better NetWorker

Becoming a better networker











Whether you are networking online or offline it can bring with it so many challenges when it comes to communicating and getting yourself heard and understood.

For those of us with a more sensitive disposition the constant rejection and lack of acknowledgement can take it’s toll.

Do you find yourself writing status and then editing and re writing posts worried about how they will be taken?

Do you speak at networking events and then spend the rest of the day berating  yourself for not being clear enough; confident enough or good enough?

I want you to know that you are not alone and I feel like that too. Yep even now; I get the odd wobble. Sometimes my critic and my emotional buttons get the better of me and I lose confidence to speak.

The difference now from a few years ago; is that the feeling doesn’t last and it quickly passes; I listen to the critic; acknowledge the feeling and be curious about what I heard and saw that triggered that response.

Then I decide in that moment does it require any more of my time. Now sometimes; if it is a pattern and it has happened more than two or three times I might pay attention. If it is an old trigger and I know it well, I am more likely to set it aside and let it go.

What I have learned is that mostly everyone else are or have felt like us at some point and people are mostly quite forgiving. We all get that 60 second pitches are uncomfortable and awkward and they don’t always reflect the whole or the best of us.

The only people potentially judging you could be the speaker trainers who know they could help you refine the process; but most human beings are quite accepting that no one really likes the 60 seconds.

So why do so many networking events insist on the 60 seconds?

This is why I think 60 seconds work?

  • 60 seconds ensure that ‘everyone’ is heard. That ‘everyone’ has a voice.
    They also ensure that over time that you get the chance to repeat; your name; your company; what problem you solve and how you are different.
  • Repetition is important to embed information, so the repeated short succinct message is more likely to stick (assuming you keep some parts the same and even if you get bored of hearing them remember it is not about you; it is about them remembering who you are and how you help other people)
  • 60 seconds can also be a way of telling stories; that help people understand and get to know you and what or who matters to you.

What doesn’t always work?

It doesn’t give you time to offer help above and beyond your business. It doesn’t give you space and time to ask questions and be interested in others.

In a recent talk Lesley Down gave at Women’s Business Club Southampton (I have included my personal recording below), Lesley talked about her process for becoming a better networker. She said a great question to ask is; “How can I help you?”

But did you know that when I ask this question very few can answer it.

So my invitation this week is to think about what can I do to help you, the reader?

And my invitation is to think about who could you ask that question of?

Who could you ask today; how you could help them?

I would love to hear what kind of response you get. I know that in the past I hated admitting I needed help so I would often say  I am fine when I wasn’t, whereas now I am much better at giving the question some thought and asking for what I want or need.

Also notice, if you have any resistance about asking the question

Maybe you are a little time poor and the thought of asking the question; “How can I help you?” fills you with dread because you have no idea what they might say and you have no idea if you have the time, resources or skills to accommodate their request.

Are there any other reasons you might not want to ask the question?

Sometimes all the help they need is to have that question asked which in itself helps them understand either;

·        They don’t need help

·        They do need help but don’t know what kind

·        You are the solution to their problem.

Remember when you ask this question it is not with the intention of getting business, although that may happen. It is about finding out what they need right now and if you know anyone or anything that could help them.

You could say something like; I am not sure I can help; but if I could what kind of help would you like? What would be the one thing that could make the biggest difference to you right now?

This week when I was doing my best not to fall into my pit of self pity and despair (Yes the live videos and book writing are challenging me right now) I told Mark how I was feeling and said; “I just want you to know I am doing my very best to stay on the right side of the emotional map”

He responded with; “How can I best support you?”

At first I had no idea; then I took a moment and I realised that I wanted him to acknowledge that I am pushing myself outside my comfort zone; that I was scared and it was uncomfortable.

I also wanted him to encourage me and ask me daily what is working and make me write it down and share it every day.

As I said this out loud I also know that he does easily forget this kind of thing and that one of my friends had recently offered to be my accountability buddy and she is like an elephant and never forgets a thing.

So although Mark may not be the one to ask every day. I can now get that support in place. And just knowing this I can also commit to myself to do this for me without any external encouragement or reminder.

One of my patterns is remembering one thing that didn’t work and forgetting the 100 things that did so daily recording of wins and change helps me embed it.

What about you?

How can I help you?

Sheryl Andrews – The Listening Detective

Founder of Step by Step Listening, Sheryl Andrews has always been keen to create space where other people felt safe to speak their truth no matter what that was. She is well known for her ability to motivate, manage and mentor others through change and loves nothing more than helping others feel heard  understood and of value by training them in the art of non-judgmental listening and practical ways to turn overwhelm and frustration into a clarity and confidence. 

But what many didn’t know is that in private behind closed doors she was not always able to do that for herself, she was fearful of upsetting others and often did not ask for her own needs to be met. She was no stranger to lapses in self- belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. A mother of a blended family of 5, a business owner and friend she was often surrounded by people who cared about her but she found it hard to ask for help. That was until she hit crisis point and found herself on the floor sobbing wondering why she could help others but couldn’t help herself. That day her husband asked her what she would tell her clients to do. The Solution was to attend her own programmes and step by step learn to take her own advice. That was back in 2011 and now she continues to be someone that is consistently walking her talk. Sheryl says; “Change is always uncomfortable and our system naturally resists it; the solution is not avoiding change; but learning to embrace it and developing the right support network to get you through it”

At Step by Step Listening we are not always the right support and sometimes the first step is understanding what you want; what you don’t want and what kind of resource or support you need right now.

Our goal is to leave you with clarity and confidence in yourself, your decision and your next best step for now.

We runs retreats, one to one coaching and online group coaching course to suit every budget; style of learning and location. Space and time to gain clarity, focus and direction whilst developing your ability to listen to yourself and others without judgement or assumption.

For regular updates and examples of how listening skills can resource you to manage yourself, time and others through change check out Free Success without stress newsletter


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Published By

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and highly motivational passion. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to challenging conversations, lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl used to find it difficult to speak up and have her needs met despite the fact she could and would encourage everyone else to do exactly that. A series of 3 events in her personal life forced her to stop and learn how to take her own advice. Today, Sheryl runs retreats and one to one sessions resourcing you to do more of what you love, delegate what you don't and ditch the critic that says you can't. Sheryl openly shares an easy to adopt communication tool kit that will transform the way you think, feel and understand those around you. Sheryl will be your strength and solution detective until you have fully trained your inner critic and those around you, to listen in a way that motivates and inspires you.

View all posts by Sheryl Andrews →

One response to “Becoming A Better NetWorker”

  1. Great post! Thanks so much for sharing.

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