If you cannot work within the “rules of collaboration” for networking, you should stay away from networking events!
STOP! Quick. . . push the “pause” button! If you continue to attend networking events without really knowing why you are really there or what you can expect to accomplish you will continue to wonder why all the fuss about networking being such a wonderful contact sport because it won’t work for you.
What are the “rules of collaboration?” There is a certain collaborative etiquette that must be followed for you to experience networking success.
1. The act of working together; united labor.
2. To work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.
1. The practices and forms prescribed by social convention or by authority.
2. The customs or rules governing behavior regarded as correct or acceptable in social or official life
Collaborative etiquette is: The act of working together within the practice of mutually beneficial social convention. Put another way, it is networking in a way that subscribes to the idea that networking is about using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return. Collaborative etiquette is the lubrication that makes things run smoothly. Without it, you may permanently alienate others.
And yet another way. . . it’s practicing the “Go Giver” mentality not the “give to get” mentality. In other words, the “give to get” mentality is giving with an expectation of receiving something from the person you gave to. Not good. This is a set-up for disappointment because that is not the way it usually works. When you give it “always” comes back to you but not always from the person you contributed to.
First – Stop trying to pitch your wares at networking events! It only pisses people off. When you walk through the door to a networking event, say goodbye to the “sales” mode. Networking isn’t about closing business deals. The quickest way to make enemies is by trying to sell your services to someone you just met. That’s really stupid. People do NOT do business with anyone until they know they like them and trust them.
Solution: Get to know others in your network. Exercise patience! Building the kind of relationship that allows people to like you and trust you takes time. It’s true that sometimes there is “love at first sight.” In other words, there is an instant connection, however this happens rarely. Take your time getting to know someone. You can’t push a chain. You can’t rush a relationship. Delayed gratification is worth it.
Second – The 1st rule of getting is “GIVING!” not taking! Asking others for business leads is futile when you first meet them. It’s also frivolous and can bring you no useful result.
Solution: You must make your primary concern be to find out how you can assist others in discovering ways to first help them so you can help each other. One of the first questions you should ask someone you meet at a networking event – obviously after a little small talk – should be, “How can I help you?”
Third – Keep your business cards in your pocket or purse. Ask yourself, “If I were them, why would I want my business card until I have established that there is a good reason for us to be connected?” You will always meet people who you know there is no logical reason for you to follow-up with. Don’t be so quick to hand out your cards.
Solution: Establish rapport. Once you have determined that there may be a harmonious connection and they are someone you might like to stay in touch with, ask for their business card and offer yours. There must be a sense of noticable camaraderie otherwise you should move on and meet someone else.
These are only 3 things that networkers stumble over. There are many others, however these are the 3 that can truly get in the way of your networking success. There are rules for everything. You must know what the rules are before you can determine whether breaking them might be to your advantage. Don’t break these rules! When you follow the rules of collaboration, amazing things can happen.
Stay in the learning mode. Neworking is not that difficult. Having common sense helps. Practice the “Golden Rule.” If you don’t already know what that is, you may be beyond help. 🙂 Read everything you can about business networking and be a good teacher as well. Teach others by example.
If you don’t. . . you are quite simply wasting your time and the time of others and you would be better off staying home, eating popcorn and mindlessly watching TV.
If you are at a networking event and breaking the rules of collaboration. . . leave! Don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out!
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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