Last May, we were lucky enough to haveMaxie McCoyon hand for a very special live chat where we talked about how to network like a rockstar and find your tribe — a.k.a. the people who understand your passion and who will keep you afloat, no matter where you are in your business.
Maxieis a writer, speaker, community builder, coach and world traveler who specializes in helping individuals tap into their greatest potential so they can grow their brand, their business and their following. She's a master at networking and truly an inspiration. Let's revisit Maxie's three tips for how to maximize your networking mojo.
Here we go!
1. Know that your network wants to help you succeed.
"Every opportunity I've ever had was because someone stuck their neck out for me."
When was the last time you asked your closest friends, parents or buddies: Who do you know that I need to know?
Maxie reminded us that there just might be some gems who are only two degrees away from you, and who could be amazing contacts for your business. The only catch? You have to ask!
From getting new customers to growing your audience to forming new partnerships, it all begins with the people around you. The key is to make sure you give them an easy and obvious way to help.
When Maxie first branched out on her own, she took the time to organize the thousands of Google contacts she'd collected over the years into various groups. She wrote a specific email to each part of her audience announcing the launch of her new business, and gave everyone a pre-written Tweet or Facebook post they could share out to their own networks. By providing clear instructions and sample language that could be copied and pasted, Maxie automatically doubled the impact of her launch announcement — and she picked up several new opportunities along the way.
You really never know which major business deal will come from someone who is already in your network. In fact, it most likely will!
2. Find the people who "get" you.
"On the most fundamentally human level, a like-minded tribe is going to get you through the hard days as a business owner."
During our chat, we asked Maxie: How do you *know* which networking relationships you should pursue long-term as a small business owner?
She shared with us a few simple tips for narrowing in on the people who will support you — and your business — through thick and thin.
At networking events, conferences or casual meetups, find the people who understand your passion, understand your business and want to help you — whether in the form of introductions, support or finding new customers. Those are the ones worth investing in, not the ones who "seem" like they might know a lot of people or have a lot of clout.
You'll know someone is the real deal when they show it. Their actions speak. They actually introduce you to someone, they send a Tweet or they share your post. The people with actions behind their words are the ones you should zero in on.
Remember that the goal isn't necessarily to increase your Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections. You need to surround yourself with people who see the greatness in what you're doing when you might have a hard time seeing that yourself one day. Look for those who will give without expectation, and who know it will come back from you ten-fold in the future.
3. Start the conversation with these 3 questions.
"It's not about showing off who you are or what you're doing. Those things will come. Focus instead on deeply engaging with other humans. That's the fastest course to creating meaningful relationships that will help you build your business."
No one likes to answer a generic question like: So, what is it you do?
Instead, Maxie kicks off a conversation with someone new using these three questions:
What do you do for fun?
What are you the best in the world at?
Why are you here at this event?
She loves starting with these questions because they not only lighten the conversation, they also give you an entirely different pathway to getting to know someone new.
Remember, if you're hoping to surround yourself with a circle of people who "get" your passion — and who believe in what you're doing — you want to begin forming those relationships right from the start.
The first time I visited my friends in Bend, OR, we met up with a group of their friends for a birthday party. I recall not once being asked "So what do you do?" We instead discussed our passions, goals, things we do for fun and what we had in common. When I mentioned this to my friend later, she responded with "Yup! We all work and work hard, but we don't define ourselves or others by 'what we/they do.'" That really resonated with me and I've since been very mindful of this.
In this article, Maxie poses the following questions instead of "So what do you do?"