Networking – why the silent feedback can be so valuable

Stefan Thomas at a business networking event

I’ve been to over 1000 networking events over the last ten years or so, and still go to one or two a week. What might surprise you is that some of the most valuable events I’ve attended, are the ones where nobody bought anything from me.

Equally, I get just as much value from the articles I write that nobody reads, or videos that nobody watches, as I do from the ones which are really popular.

The silent feedback in networking and social media is incredibly valuable as it helps you to refine your offering, your marketing, your content or any other aspect of your business to make sure it is attractive, and, crucially, that people are buying your stuff.

Probably 80% of my networking in the early days resulted in me coming home frustrated. But that frustration led me to make changes to what I was doing, or how I was describing or marketing it. And those changes ultimately led to a degree of success.

Even recently, within the last couple of years, that feedback has helped me to develop and refine The Networking Retreat, from a position where I thought I was flogging a dead horse, to now being something I am incredibly proud of, and sells out regularly.

Through networking I have developed great contacts who respect me enough to tell me the truth if they think I am going up a blind alley. Sometimes I take their advice and sometimes I go with my intuition, both options are valuable. I count myself really lucky to have those contacts.

But it is the silent feedback which is what I have become so tuned in to. If it isn’t working, if my 40 seconds is getting a sea of blank faces and all three business cards left over, if ultimately nobody is buying, I then have the opportunity to change. And the more networking I did over the years, the more quickly I could make and test those changes.

Even with my speaking career, 4Sights gave me a huge and safe environment to test new material and rehearse and refine that material. Far better for a routine not to work in front of 20 supportive people over breakfast, than in front of 1000 people when I’m on stage. If you’ve watched one of my 4Sights over the years, you’ve been part of my rehearsal, thank you!

It would be so easy to misinterpret the silent feedback and simply walk away from a networking group, constantly looking for the one with better people who understand what I do better! But I chose the other path, of listening to the feedback and acting on it, even when it was silent.

 

Share this article: Tweet this article Post this article to Facebook Post this article to LinkedIn