Netconnecting – Better Networking

OK OK OK. I’ll disclose and admit from the outset: I enjoy networking.Smarter Networking

I like connecting with other people and finding out who they are and what makes them tick.  I like interacting with real life 3D characters, that perhaps I may have only read about or watched on the telly. I like learning about and from them.

Though I appreciate at times networking can be scary and a waste of time, its purpose is to help someone out at some point, to connect and establish whether there is a reason to connect again.  

We enjoy doing business with those we like and trust. Trust is built on giving and receiving help. It takes time to build. If you put in the effort to establish trust and help someone else out, you will reap networking’s tangible and intangible rewards.

So, how can you take the ‘work’ out of networking?  

How can you take the edge off and enjoy it? 

YOUR OUTCOME:

Ask ‘what do I want to achieve from it’? ‘What’s my purpose attending?’   Ensure your outcome is specific and write it down.

For example, if your outcome to attend an event is to ‘get a job’ or ‘find a new client’, it’s likely your interactions and conversations will be unfocussed and reek of unstructured desperation.

If your outcome is to ‘make contact with 2 new people, learn about their industry, help them in some way and exchange business cards to connect again’, your sharper focus will funnel your conversation and interactions to achieve this outcome.

YOUR EVENT PURPOSE: 

There are loads of events going on every day and night of the week. Do your homework and select an event that is fit for your purpose.

Are you seeking an event where your suppliers, customers, innovators, thought leaders or competitors will or won’t be? Are you looking for an event outside your industry to broaden your network?

LEARNING:

Get yourself into a state of mind where you are open and willing to chat, listen and learn.

If you are keen to learn and keen to share your learning’s with others, your whole interaction and engagement with others will change.  People will respond better to you and you to them. 

What do you have to give to your new contact? What piece of information or ‘thing’ could you share with them, which they would value? Or what have you learnt from the keynote speaker? How could you use that information in your role?

SMALL, COMMON, BIG:

Small talk leads to common ground. Common ground cements a bond to pick up later on.  Later on may lead to big talk.

Start by asking open questions to promote conversation and establish common ground. You could chat about what interested them in attending this event, how the event is going, what they thought of the keynote speaker, what’s been the most interesting thing they have learnt, if they have any thoughts on some current affair issue…. Ask them about them.

Thank them for sharing whatever they have provided to you.

NETWORK AS A HABIT: 

Follow up with those you have already met periodically.  Continue to review your networks (LinkedIn is a great networking management tool) and intermittently get in touch with your contacts.

How nice is it when someone gets in touch with you out of the blue? How nice is it when someone remembers your face or your name at an event you were at last month or the month before?

Take the edge off and learn. Try some new techniques. Connect first and give first and see what happens.

What is the best that can happen? 

That you shared your unique talents with the world? 

That you made a contact with someone who could help you out later on or even become a friend?

Q: What tips help you network with ease? 

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