I’m sure you’ve been to networking meetings and events and have walked away totally disappointed with the outcome, right? Me too!
When that happens, I usually spend some quiet time replaying the event in my mind to see if I could have done anything differently. Sometimes, yes… sometimes, no. Sometimes you have to accept that not all networkers will respond favorably to you. I accept that. Next, I look at my approach. What did I do right and what could I have done better. I’ll flip through the business cards I received, look at the note I made on the back of the card and either make a choice to follow-up or not.
“When you repeat a mistake, it is not a mistake anymore; it’s a decision!” ~ Paulo Coelho
Thomas Edison once said that he never failed, he just discovered what didn’t work. Perhaps if we treated “every” outcome as a discovery, we might find it easier to be grateful for it.
When I do networking coaching one-on-one, I have discovered that about 9 out of 10 networkers approach networking as an opportunity to get, rather than give. Once that mindset is changed, results are almost guaranteed. Whatever your strengths or weaknesses are, you can always improve your networking skills, however, you have to especially pay attention to what doesn’t work.
“Your role is to grow your network so that you can be a great resource for others and to always be on the lookout for opportunities to be of support, i.e., pass along a comment, suggestions, recommendation, word of encouragement, etc. Keep the networking flow going by giving, asking, offering and thanking people.” ~ Donna Fisher
Real relationships, real friendships, real connections are based on exchanging value with each other. Without the exchange of value, there is no real connection. Who are the networkers that offer great suggestions when you need them and are always there to point you in the right direction? Those are the people that add value to your network – and they’re the ones you’ll be glad to help out if they need a hand.
So… New Rule: Never pursue a contact unless you know you can contribute something of value to their situation. Always be “giving!” That is important and is something I discovered in my quiet time replay many years ago.
Strong bonds are made when there is a mutual benefit for both. That’s when you can measure your ROI (return on investment). When you are part of a network, it’s a two way street, you contribute to others and others contribute to you.
Pay attention to what doesn’t work when you network and don’t do that anymore. It’s that simple!
Copyright © 2013 – 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 Networking 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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