Who are those people who subscribe to the “Networking Lite” philosophy?
Think about it. Have you ever been to a networking meeting or event where you met someone who – by all outward appearances – seemed excited to meet you, promised to give you a call to schedule a time to get together to get better acquainted. . . and you never heard from them again?
“One of the biggest mistakes you can make in networking is to dismiss someone too early, to assume that he or she has nothing to offer you because of his or her professional background or some other reason, and not pursue the relationship.” ~ Ivan Misner
How about the person who shoves a business card at you, quickly tries to sell you their product or service while all the time looking over your shoulder for their next victim?
Some have a cocktail in one hand, business cards in the other and a pre-rehearsed elevator speech always at the ready. They can also be found chowing down on finger food. My question is this: “Did you come to network or eat?” They are not influential people – they downgrade networking to a activity that is scorned by the masses.
Yawn! Borrring! May they RIP! 😉
These people are the lightweights of business networking. They are often silently called, “networking jerks.” This kind of relationship-building process is what has come to represent the general population of those who network in the business arena, and it’s not just yawn-inducing, it’s also highly ineffective. I often wonder why they even bother to network. It’s no wonder they are so aggressive. Networking is not working for them and they wonder why. Panic sets in and they eventually move on to something else. They are the ones who give networking its bad name.
The heavyweights know that networking is not about them. They have a true sense of helping others. They take time to build relationships. They take the time necessary to get to know you on a personal level. They quietly invite you into their network of support and genuinely are interested in how they can be of service to you. They know that making money from business networking only comes “after” the relationships are secure and “trust” has been established.
Consistency of effort is their watchword. They display confidence in everything they do. They have learned to “work a room” without it looking like they are working the room. They have learned that last impressions also can be lasting impressions. They are smart enough to not overstay their welcome, in a conversation or at an event. They are business-minded individuals, not boring, unsophisticated leaches you work to avoid. These are people who have a passion and a flair for developing a creative community of business support and they share it with no expectations of getting anything in return.
“Networking is. . . 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!” ~ Larry James
The collective wisdom of most of the networking gurus I know is to have a strategy in mind before you get to a networking event, know what you want to say and to whom you want to say it. In other words, have a goal going in so you can make the best of the time you spend there. The beauty of your network of support is that the people in it also know other people.
Please people. . . no more “networking lite!” Become a heavyweight. Study and get to know the intricacies of networking. Understanding the intricacies of networking is what thoughtful business owners and major corporations consider a must know “survival tool.” There is no such thing as a perfect networker. Doing it right is a learned skill. Networking is not a game. It has become a core success skill. It is a legitimate way to help others and develop your own personal network of support – people who have the same mindset that you do. There are human psychological and sociological insights that must be learned.
Networking is all about giving. My friend, Bob Burg, author of “Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales,” and “The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea,” writes that the “superstar, mega-successful, high-dollar-earning rainmaker is the greatest and most active giver you know. He is constantly referring business to others. She is always on the lookout for a piece of information that will interest someone in her network of friends and prospects.”
I’ve been “helping others help themselves” for many years. The journey that led to my immersion in the mechanics of business networking began when I was ten years old. I came from a great family and they were poor. My mother helped me buy my first bicycle (a used one for $10 from a neighbor down the street – Jay Bayless, Topeka, KS), put a big basket on it and filled it with a few products that I sold door-to-door until I graduated from high school.
Back then, haircuts were 25 cents (Opps! Guess I’m dating myself. ;-)) and while getting a “burr” haircut I would hear the men in the other barber chairs talk about their businesses, give leads to each other and talk about how great it was to be in the “good old boys club.” This was before the word “networking” exsisted. Eventually they would see my bike basket filled with stuff and parked next to the barber shop sign and would ask me what I was doing. Before long I had a regular clientele of old guys buying my stuff to take home to their wives.
Today my businesses are almost entirely based on the strength of my network. These are people I know well, can trust and with whom I share ideas that can forward the momentum of our businesses.
Business networking is the best way of shaping collaboration between friends and business associates.
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! Invite Larry James to speak to your 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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