In my experience – while at a networking event – it is a rare occasion when someone I meet asks me this question. It seems that most will begin talking endlessly about themselves or their business without pausing to ask if I am the least bit interested.
This is one of the biggest mistakes new networkers make (and some not-so-new)! It’s the #1 reason some people have been so discouraged that after a few meetings they think everyone is a hustler and decide it’s a waste of time and stop going. Coming across as a hustler or being too aggressive when you first meet turns people off.
Networking is about creating and enhancing long-term relationships and you can’t do that if you never give the relationship time to develop.
Hmmm. To me “How can I help you?” is a natural question to ask of someone you’ve just met at a networking event. I cannot believe that everyone doesn’t already know this. It’s the most important question you can ask.
If this idea is new to you, pat yourself on the back that you’ve make the effort to learn a new networking skill. This one is crucial to your business success. By asking this question you help nurture others in the art of networking.
Sara Blumenfeld in her book, “The Nurturing Networker,” says, “Why does being a nurturing networker matter? It matters because you want to make a positive impact in the world, and the only way you can do that is through your relationships. It matters because it is more satisfying to give to others than to always be grasping for what you want and need. When you are giving, what you need will come to you effortlessly. It matters because it will change the way you look at things, and your life will be richer.”
It is important to change your mindset. You will never be successful at networking unless you stop attending events to SELL and begin to offer to help those who need help. You must think of networking as primarily a way to connect, develop relationships, and help other people. By focusing on them you will benefit much more than if you are more interested in having them focus on you.
Next time you’re at a networking event, after you’ve been introduced to someone new, sincerely ask “How can I help you?” and silently wait to see what happens.
By the way. . . it’s okay to ASK for help!
“Asking for help doesn’t mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.” ~ Anne Wilson Schaef
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”
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NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.