You’re at a networking event. Check out the scene.
Does anyone look like they know what they are doing? Or. . .are they running around passing out and collecting as many business cards as they can stuff in their pockets or purses? How smart is that? That is NOT networking!
Networking is NOT about you! It’s about helping others.
It’s not some last-minute thing you do to save your business from the brink. Developing new relationships take time.
I love networking. It is what helped get me to where I am today. Networking got me interviewed by Barbara Walters on ABC TV’s “The View.” It helped me connect with a major book distributor which put my books on the shelves of nearly every major book store in the U.S. It helped me connect with international publishers who now print my networking book (Ten Commitments of Networking) in 11 countries world-wide. It didn’t happen by attending an event and collecting business cards and it certainly didn’t happen over night.
It took patience, persistence and a sincere desire to help others first. Networking is a breeze and it really works if you do it right. Do it right and if you are really well connected you can find out what you want in 2 to 3 phone calls to others in your network of support.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get, what you’ve always got! Perhaps it time for all of us to be different and do things – meaning networking – differently. Don’t be like everyone else. Hang out. Observe. Pay attention to what is going on in the room and venture outside the ordinary. Monkey see, monkey do may not be your best strategy. How far do you think following someone who doesn’t really know what they are doing get you?
Follow in the footsteps of the networking experts – the leaders – who religiously follow networking protocol. Evolutionary psychology tells us that people follow because the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs of going it alone or fighting to become the leader of a group. Tune in to the leaders who have studied the many benefits of business networking and learned to put others ahead of their own interests. Read their books. Attend their seminars. Follow their networking blog. Ask them to mentor you. Explore all the possibilities of effective networking.
People respond differently when you show a sincere interest in them. After all, the primary strategy in networking is building long-term business relationships – the benefit of which shows up after trust is established and eventually as someone with whom you can exchange business ideas, discuss ways to promote your business, business leads and more. The long-term effect is “win-win” for everyone!
When you attend networking events and do what everyone else is doing, I can assure you that will not work.
Be different. People who are intentionally different stand out in a good way. Be a change agent. Make it part of your mission to help teach others how to effectively network by being a good example.
Plug into the networking experts. Find someone who will push you to become a better networker. You can learn what you need to know and teach what you’ve learned by following them. Offer to speak to your networking group and other networking groups about what you have learned. Learn and serve. When you do, you step into a new world of networking possibilities. I guarantee it!
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!” Larry James provides “Networking Coaching” one-on-one and to networking groups!
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