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Top Tips for Successful Networking

By on February 28, 2013

 

 

Why is it that so many people are either fearful of networking or don’t really know how to make the most of the opportunities found in powerful networking. Well, I believe it is for two main reasons: firstly, many of us haven’t really ever been taught how to effectively network and secondly, many of us have witnessed so many bad examples of networking that it often turns us off.
Still others don’t realize how important it is to maximize networking opportunities which can be useful in securing new careers, building business or just creating new relationships.
Below are number of tips that you might find useful to either start networking, or to refine your skills. You may already be familiar with many of these tips. However, it might be in your best interest to read them all and consider these tips as reminders.
Networking is a two way street
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t enjoy talking with people when all they do is talk about themselves, and what you can do for them. To deepen the relationship, ensure that you ask the other person about themselves first, and how you can help them. In finding out about them, you will also learn how they can help you, without your having to dominate the conversation.
It isn’t about how many people you know
People are often mistaken in believing it is how many people you know that makes you a great networker, when I believe it is about how much you know about the person. Have you ever gone to an event where people speak to you for a few minutes, usually talking about themselves exclusively, then ask for your card and give you theirs? I generally don’t keep these cards for follow up, as usually, the person didn’t make any sort of impact on me where I would want to develop a possible relationship with them.
Don’t expect anything
A good networker looks at how to add value to someone else before thinking of how they will gain. That is not to say that you should not benefit from the relationship in some way, but I find that comes once you make that person more important than what they can do for you first.
Have a plan
Before arriving at an event, have some sort of strategy worked out. Do some research if possible on the likely attendees, what they do and where they work. If you know who you want to meet in advance, even if it is the type of person only, you have more likelihood of meeting them, instead of just standing in a corner and hoping someone will speak to you.

Introduce others
One of the best ways to overcome being nervous in meeting new people is by introducing other people to each other. This is particularly powerful when done in person. At that moment you are not thinking about your nervousness but instead directing your attention to the people you are introducing to one another. An added benefit is that you are perceived as a ‘connector’.
Don’t take anything personally
In the world we live in today, people are very busy and may not respond to your networking attempts right away. Therefore, it is important not to take anything personally. It isn’t you (what you said or did), it is usually them being too busy or perhaps unfocused on the networking process.
Have a system
Formulating a system for networking ensures that you are consistent and organized in the process. This might mean having a way to store or record business cards, or noting where you met someone (which is great to do on the business card when it is handed to you so you don’t have to rely on your memory later). Or, it could mean having a plan to contact 5 people per day either face to face, through a social media portal like LinkedIn, through a mutual contact, or via email.
Power is in the follow up
After all that work, it would be a shame not to follow up with the people you have met, yet this is so common. It is always beneficial to follow up with someone a day or two after your initial meeting. This does not have to be anything formal, but rather a quick email, phone call or handwritten note referring to your meeting, and perhaps something that you had discussed (to remind them of who you are).

 


Sharon Worsley is the author of the soon to be released book ‘The 4 Diamond Leader – How to Wake Up, Shake Up, and Show Up in Life and Business’. For ideas on how to up-level your life and business check out Sharon’s blog at www.sharonworsley.com/blog

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