The Definition of Networking
Let’s think of the word “Networking.” Notice it has the word “work” in it. Yes, you actually have to do some work to get the benefits of networking. Here are some useful tips:
Target higher networks i.e. bigger than you – Surround yourself with people smarter and wealthier than yourself. Wealth is a healthy measurement of success in business. Consider it an opportunity to learn what has worked and what hasn’t from business owners and professionals who are top of their game.
Pretend you are the host. Go and introduce yourself to strangers and ensure that the people around you know each other. Connect and engage! This trait actually builds loads of goodwill.
Shy people have the potential to be very good networkers they just need to rise above their fears and trust themselves. The fact they are shy means they are very good listeners.
If you see someone standing by themselves go and introduce yourself. Think about what must I do or say next, to take advantage of this opportunity?
Now let’s dig deep if you really want to connect with people you have to tap into being fully present at that moment. Easier said than done with so many distractions in a crowded room. But, true presence is deep listening, being open beyond one’s preconceptions and past ways of making sense. By being open you hear things differently. By cultivating your ability to be more aware of your thoughts and not allowing them to drift when people speak to you…you can communicate on a much deeper level. Ask a real question and you will get a real answer.
Three questions that always work well at a network function are:
- Who prompted you to come along to this function?
- What type of work do you do?
- Has anything exciting happened to you recently?
Search for Clues to improve your opportunity:
- What are the things people complain about? How can I help?
- Where do I fit in?
- Are there special events coming up? Is there another event worth for me to attend?
With those questions, you should be on your way to engaging someone. If not, assume they are a real bore and move on!
Get the guest list if you can. Check out who is attending and know whom you would like to meet. If it is impossible to connect with them at the event it is a great excuse after the event to send them an email or call and say, “I was sorry I missed the opportunity in meeting you at the recent Gala event, could we catch-up for a coffee to discuss….”
If you give someone your business card, always write something on the back of the card … make it personal. Just a few words should do the trick!
Even better….. send them your business card using referron
Referron enables you to comment about that person i.e. red hair, loves golf, a cute smile you get my drift!
The Fortune is in the Follow Up!
Drop someone an email saying where you met, and something about the conversation you had. It shows you really were listening. For example, if they mentioned they loved golf include in the email an article about golf saying, “I thought this may interest you.” Don’t always make it work-related – remember you are trying to build a relationship.
They came to the networking event to meet people… who can you refer them in your network? Use Referron
Alternatively, call and make a suitable time to catch up.
Send a personalised invite to connect on LinkedIn or message them – straight after the event whilst the person remembers who you are. Step outside your comfort zone and connect with creative people.
Stay Open To Possibilities and seize the opportunity
Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities to come your way. Seize common occasions and make them great. However, it’s not the size of the opportunity that matters, it’s rather what you do with that opportunity that makes all the difference in the end. Therefore you should never underestimate or discount what an opportunity can do for you.
- The greatest dividing line between success and failure can be stated in five words: “I did not have time.”
- Make time and network. You may be surprised at how many services and possibilities lie within your reach.
- 88% of buyers want a conversation, not a presentation – build a relationship
- The quickest and most effective way of increasing your business network can be accomplished by doing one thing – picking up your phone!