Teaching Networking Skills
You know how to network. You’ve attended seminars on it, you’ve put it into practice at work, online and in every phase of your life, and it’s proved to be very rewarding. What you perhaps can’t understand is why everyone in business doesn’t do it.
Perhaps it’s time to start teaching people the things you’ve learned over the years, the best ways to network, and how to do it effectively. After all, there’s no substitute for practical experience and you have a lot to pass on.
How to Start Teaching Business NetworkingThere’s a big gap between knowing how to network effectively and teaching it. Perhaps the ideal first steps to take are with your colleagues at work. Do they network a lot, and if not, why don’t they? Talk to them about it, and begin offering tips. You might even suggest to your boss that you hold an informal seminar in the office to pass on what you know.
Don’t try and teach everything in one session. Think about it and pass on the most important points, with practical demonstrations, if possible. As a speaker, involve your audience, encourage questions and role playing.
After it’s over and they’ve had a few days to digest the information, ask them for feedback. What did they learn? Was it useful? Will they be putting it into practice? What could have been better? Learn from that. You can even take some of them to a networking event with you, to give them to opportunity to put their knowledge into practice – and you can observe them.
Creating a Networking SeminarYou’ve made your start and the feedback will help you in your presentation about networking skills. But before you can really teach others, you have to devise a truly useful seminar – or a series of them. Who would be likely to come, why should they pay money or give up their time to hear you talk?
Fix upon a specific topic or angle, one that hasn’t been widely covered in seminars, and something that’s of real value to people. That should draw a crowd, but don’t be discouraged if only a few attend. You’re an unknown quantity and you have to prove yourself. You should even consider not charging for your seminars initially until people are more familiar with what you have to offer.
Of course, you need to be a dynamic speaker, animated and with plenty of good information to impart. Understand your audience, don’t go on too long, keep things lively and you’ll find they come back for more. Once you’ve started to make a name for yourself, then you can confidently begin charging for your seminars. Word of mouth will have circulated and you’ll find much greater interest in your work.
You will need to come up with several seminar topics – or even a course – in networking; obviously, you can’t cover the same topic over and over again. As more people become familiar with your name and work, you might well be able to travel regionally or even nationally to hold your seminars. Be aware, though, that you’ll still need to do plenty of networking yourself, not only to keep abreast, but also to spread your own name! You have to practice what you preach.