Are you a young, motivated, hard-working millennial entrepreneur who just can’t wait to go out on your own and build your empire? Are you seeking to improve your networking skills? If so, then you might have just stumbled across one of the best resources possible for taking your networking skills to another level.
Being a millennial entrepreneur can be difficult. On one hand, you have so much potential and time ahead of you in your career that many will praise you and be inspired by your early commitment to the game of business. On the other hand, many millennial entrepreneurs state they find it difficult or nerve-racking to attend network events with baby boomer entrepreneurs.
The truth is that whether you’re young or not, everybody struggles with these feelings of insecurity and low self confidence in the beginning. While you might think being young makes you seem less professional, I’ve found the exact opposite to be true.
I have learned some valuable networking skills over the last year that have allowed me to network very well with successful baby boomers. Networking has been extremely valuable for building my business, and building my personal growth. However, to learn these skills, I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning.
See, there are many mistakes to avoid in networking, and it came to my attention that a lot of millennial entrepreneurs could benefit from my past mistakes and the knowledge I have gained in a short time. So, here are 10 tips I wanted to share with you so you too can network effectively, meet new people, and grow your business as a millennial entrepreneur.
Have a great image.
Firstly, if you want to be taken seriously in business as a younger entrepreneur, then you’re going to have to come across as being professional. No, this doesn’t mean that you’ll need to become a lifeless, boring, dry individual – but it does mean that you should probably start dressing and looking like you’re capable of managing a business and close big deals.
Invest in professional clothing. Get a good headshot picture taken of yourself. Make sure that your social media looks professional as well. Remove any pictures of you partying or looking like you are irresponsible. Make yourself come across as an already successful individual. Look like an opportunity to everyone around you. You must understand that your online presence these days is everything. You can’t sell a $1000 service looking like you’re a $10 service provider!
Know your story and tell it well.
When you introduce yourself, know your story and tell it well. Don’t downplay your achievements, and don’t be all over the place when explaining what you do. The better, more confident, and simpler you can communicate your product or value you provide – the more attractive you will be to others who are more successful than you. Make people excited.
Demonstrate that you’re a hard worker.
You’re going to have to show that you are a hard worker and demonstrate your ambition to succeed. Millennials are often referred to as being entitled, and lazy. Prove otherwise to the people you meet. Talk about your hustle and what you have accomplished despite some of the struggles you may have faced. This will earn you respect and admiration from those who are older and more successful than you because it shows that you’re hungry and have goals in life. Often, mentors and investors will invest in people, rather than just the business.
Listen closely and ask questions.
When you’re speaking with someone, listen to them instead of just waiting for your turn to talk. Ask questions about what they’re talking about and what they do. This sounds very simple; however, many people miss amazing opportunities because they simply were not listening. The more you listen and ask questions, the more opportunity you will find. Remember, a person is only interesting when they are interested.
Give value, don’t just take it.
There’s nothing more annoying than those people who go around only looking to take. You know what I mean. Those people approaching others looking for handouts, investments, free coaching, or mentorship without adding any real value to the other person. Don’t be this kind of person. Especially as a younger entrepreneur. Their time is very precious and chances are they’re bothered with these questions all the time. If you want to meet with an influencer, think about how you can give and not just take!
You don’t need to have only money to benefit others. Consider how you can use your current available resources (skills, network, time, hard work) to benefit them in some way so that there is a mutual benefit in the relationship.
Don’t think you know it all.
As stated before, millennials are often seen as being entitled. Whatever you do, don’t come across as being a know-it-all. You haven’t had anywhere near as much experience as most of the people you will be networking with, and despite what you might think about their concepts being dated – there is still much to learn. Swallow your pride, and become a humble student to seasoned entrepreneurs. Be willing to learn from your past generations. There is much knowledge here that will be critical for your future success.
Talk like a billionaire.
So, like…You should probably like …. Talk like um . . . A little less um …like an um…millennial…Or whatever…um.
Everyone knows what I’m talking about here. I am guilty of this one coming from being a young biker dude growing up. However, if you want to be taken more seriously as a millennial entrepreneur, force yourself to ditch the language of one.
I’ve found that by reading books and listening to audio programs from very successful entrepreneurs and sales people has dramatically increased my oral communication skills. Also (and this might sound dumb to some) turn on your camera and practice speaking to yourself about various concepts. This will help you see exactly how you present yourself to those around you. Don’t get discouraged, get motivated to practice this skill and excel at it. It’s something you won’t regret doing.
Keep your promises and be punctual.
If you meet someone and tell them that you are going to do something for them, do it. If you are supposed to meet someone for coffee to discuss a potential opportunity at a specific time, be there early. This is something that not a lot of millennials, nor baby boomers honour these days.
Become a man/woman of your word. Keep all the promises you make, and always deliver on them. This will gain you a lot of respect from others, and will make you stand out tremendously – because no one else is doing it!
Follow up and keep in touch.
Follow up with people who you met with. If you don’t have any business cards, get some! When you meet people who you believe could be valuable to have in your network, ask for their business card and request to add them as a connection on LinkedIn after meeting with them.
If you really hit it off with someone, I would highly suggest sending them an email hours after the event thanking them for the opportunity to connect with them. Tell them what you learned from them. Show them that your discussion with them was a meaningful one and demonstrate your interest in your relationship with them. This will open many doors for you and people will remember you.
Confidence is everything.
I know it’s easier said than done, but confidence is everything when it comes to networking. You want to come across as confident; not desperate. Look them in the eye when you are speaking to them and show that you know your worth. Any big influencer will tell you that by carrying yourself as being confident, people will be attracted and influenced by you.
Confidence comes from competence. Educate yourself as much as you can about your expertise and you will naturally come across as being more confident. This is because you know what you are talking about, and confidence will come as a by product from your competence of the subject matter.
Written by Matt Thibeau
Certified Digital Marketing Consultant