Networking Series: Research your Future
Hello again, readers! Let’s first start with a recap. We have previously talked about turning your nerves into your passion by embracing your fear of stepping out of your comfort zone, and last we talked about making yourself memorable not by expressing what people want to hear but by embracing who you are and what you love. This week we’re going to continue our networking segment and memorability by helping you expand your knowledge on researching.
Frankly, I don’t think anyone fully understands the importance of researching until you experience a time where you were under prepared and it may or may not have cost you the opportunity. It’s embarrassing and discouraging because you know you’re better than that. It’s like dating, you can be the most confident person in the world but if you don’t take the time to care to learn about the other person, that relationship isn’t going to progress. Whether you’re trying to find new clients, a business partner or employees, it’s the same deal.
Discovering your target market/audience is the easy step. The next step and probably the most challenging step is researching what your target market is interested in so you can know their casual hangout spots. This will benefit you when reaching out, so you will then have a meet-up point in mind if your conversation gets to that point. You will look professional by taking charge instead of stumbling and saying umm, it doesn’t matter to me, where ever is easier for you and wowing them before you even get to sit down for a coffee because you know their local watering hole.
The second, most important and most time consuming step when researching your target market when networking is to look for upcoming events that your target market would be interested in or are already going to. This will give you the best time to introduce yourself while showing off what you know and do best. This is always the preferred step because as terrifying as networking can be, these events are the perfect stepping stone because you’re in a more casual and laid back setting. It’s more or less a chance for you to meet your ideal person, put faces to some names, and from there out plan your one-on-one sit down to discuss the rest of your agenda and goals. However, when introducing yourself never keep it too casual and always have your “ 30 second elevator pitch” ready for your introduction, so that they know your purpose. (But that’s for another day…)
So with that being said, as dull and boring researching can be, it’s very crucial to standing out no matter the situation or the size of your business. Remember to not only research the “who” but also the “what” and “where” so you can properly engage after your initial contact. A final rule of thumb is if you do your research for something you’re passionate about and have a slight interest in, it will help make the work less dull and will make the reward that much sweeter.