If you want great success from business networking you must get started and never quit. Jump in the deep end of the networking pool and get busy networking.
Surround yourself with successful people who know about networking and learn from them. Networking is not something that happens overnight. You must be committed to work at it and make it a consistent part of your business strategy.
It would be wise for you to give up all of your expectations about networking and just let it happen. Contact interesting and relevant people and watch what happens. Some will be good contacts and others will not. That’s okay. Never take a “No,” personally. In your initial conversation find out what makes them interesting and how you can help them and don’t expect anything in return. NEVER request help, leads, referrals, favors, advice, etc., when you first meet someone.
“If you are not totally committed, don’t expect to get all the benefits that are there for those willing to jump in with all their heart! Halfhearted doesn’t cut it in love, sports or business or making money.” ~ Jack M. Zufelt
In the beginning it’s important to attend several networking groups and events to get the hang of it. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Observe. Do you feel comfortable there. Your primary goal of networking should be to help other people.
Tell the event planner that you are new to networking and ask if they can recommend several people that you should talk with. When you network, it is no place to be shy. Ask for what you want and need. Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your business special or different from others doing the same thing. The important part of this is to learn to effectively communicate this with your “30-second connection.” Make sure your hype is the truth.
Look for the movers and shakers. Introduce yourself. People who are genuinely successful love to help other people – that’s what networking is really about. Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and long-term business relationships. Networking champions work at providing value to everyone they meet. It’s more about value, not how much experience you have. Listen more than you talk – especially about how you talk about yourself. The more value you create, the more it will come back to you many times over. It may be that they introduce you to someone else who is in a better position to assist you. They may offer to give you some networking tips.
Avoid people who appear to be protective of their business. They are usually the takers not the givers. Run fast if their networking strategies come across as pushy, needy, or self-serving because they probably are.
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
If the idea of networking makes you uncomfortable or confused, step out there and do it anyway. When you do the thing you fear, the death of fear is certain. Never let fear hold you back. You have to take the first step while you are still afraid. Be brave. Demonstrate your self-confidence.
When you meet someone you would like to get to know better, always follow-up! The more you get to know someone, the faster you can build a relationship and the quicker you learn to like and trust each other. Effective follow-up assures you that if and when you need support from them or a small favor in the future it will be less awkward to ask for it.
Focus on others. Always network with the intention of helping other people, not yourself. It’s far more important to understand the needs of people you meet before you tell them about your needs. Sharing useful information, referrals and connecting like-minded people are simple actions that will quickly establish you as a great networking resource and help you stand out in the crowd.
Need more help? You have to learn to walk before you can run. Research networking strategies, tips, and articles. Take networking seminars. Read networking books. Take a look at the more than 200 articles about networking on this blog by checking the “Networking Article Index.” Or… call me for networking coaching!
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!”
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.
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