It is a waste of time and rather discouraging to continue to network if you are not having success with how you are doing it.
What do I mean when I say, “Think faster?”
It’s simple. Be quick to analyze what isn’t working when you network! Then stop doing it and do something different. This means getting out of your comfort zone. Stop making excuses! It means changing how you react and how you respond to others in your network. If what you’re doing isn’t working, perhaps it’s because you believe you don’t deserve it. Time for an attitude adjustment.
So many people I know go to networking meetings and events nearly every day of the week. They keep going hoping that something will change and someone will buy their product or service and maybe give them a business lead. They spend lots of time and energy doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Some say that is the definition of insanity. I agree. The real cost in terms of time, stress and frustration is usually much more than simply admitting that an incorrect choice was made and that it needs to be fixed.
They expend more effort – which only saps their energy – on what is not working or they make attempts to justify their action as the only correct way of networking. In such a situation, what they need most is flexibility. Never get stuck with only one viewpoint. Try out as many perspectives as you can if you intend on being flexible. People who fail at flexibility are usually afraid to fail and to change. They don’t realize that change is the engine of fulfillment.
We all need to learn to think faster when we are in a networking conversation. Think on your feet. It about improv. Adapting to any given situation that arises and shifting the conversation to the direction you want it to go. Not like manipulation, but like a professional salesperson would to design a better outcome for everyone concerned. It must have direction and purpose. You may want to enroll in a class on improvisation.
“Using ‘yes… and’ can also help you direct a conversation to where you want it to go. Here’s an example: Your son says, “I hate my math teacher.” Instead of saying, “Well, that’s just silly” or, distractedly, “Aha,” and ending the conversation right there, you could say, “Yes, you hate your math teacher. And that reminds me of how much you hated your history teacher — until you started to love her. Remember? I mean, things can change, right?” ~ CNNLiving.com
Intuitive thought is usually the best way to keep the conversation going. Trust your intuition and its ability to bring to you the right thoughts at the right times. Sometimes you have to make it up as you keep going. Be careful not to say something that you will regret later. Always tell the truth. You must learn to trust your instinct. Be outrageous. Engage in positive reinforcement, not debate. You don’t have to prove yourself to be the smartest person in the room. Your brain does not have a speed limit. You just need to think faster and smarter.
A great business network is crucial for your career and business success. Even though most of us know this, we seldom spend enough time building and maintaining our network. You must have access to diverse networking skill sets.
Communication skills come with practice. It’s important to find common points of interest to talk about. What you say must add value to the conversation. You don’t have to say anything brilliant. You have to be brave, allow your inner voice to open up your mouth and speak encouraging words; not the same old stuff you’ve been saying that isn’t working. It takes practice. Lots of it. You don’t have to be the smartest, wittiest or brightest star in the room to make your mark. While some people naturally exude qualities that help them stand out in a crowd, making an impact on someone is a skill that is learned.
Let go of the stuff that doesn’t work. Let it remain in the past.
You will learn from your mistakes AND that is HOW you learn. Do your best to tune your intuition so that you make perceptive leaps of logic to get where you want to be. Engage is new ideas and different perspectives that move each conversation you have with other networkers forward. Have a balanced conversation. Anyone who’s been on the silent end of a one-sided conversation knows how unpleasant it is, so be sure not to monopolize things. Think fast. Be interested and interesting. Ask questions to learn what your contact cares about. People become interested in you as a result of your interest in them.
“Be like a farmer. He prepares the soil for months before ever planting the seeds. He tends the seedlings with care, feeding and watering them regularly, putting up a scarecrow to keep pesky birds away. It’s a long, drawn-out process to go from seeding a field to harvesting the crops. There’s no quick return.” ~ Ivan Misner
May I have your attention please? Success isn’t just about how long or how hard you work – it’s about what you work at; it’s about working smart and knowing when something you are doing in business networking isn’t working. To succeed, you need to let other people help you. You can never get there by schmoozing, selling yourself and sucking up to people. That’s why the first rule in business networking is building relationships. Business networking doesn’t happen by itself. The kind of support you get from a network of support is immeasurable. That’s working smart.
Be flexible – if what you’re doing isn’t working, do something different. If you want something wonderful to happen as you network, you will have to do something different, and continue to vary your behaviors until you get the result you really want. It requires effort. It also requires you to think faster at discovering that you MUST do something different.
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. 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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