Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Every Interaction Counts!

Filed under: Communication,Networking,Video — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , ,

I repeat… Every interaction counts!

It doesn’t matter whether your interaction in face-to-face, social media, etc., because every interaction counts you must always present yourself in a professional manner.

I once told a joke in an elevator with four total strangers. Three months later one of those men heard me speak at an American Business Association regional meeting and 6 months later he hired me to present a keynote address to a group of attorneys.

NETinteractionBe at your best at all times. Networking is about developing close personal and business relationships. It may be a 3 minute joke in an elevator, but every interaction counts; you participate in someones life with even a brief encounter.

A reference to being at a bar on Facebook, or seen with a drink in your hand at a networking event, can, for some, be enough to have them dismiss you as someone they want to get to know. Your website, your interaction with other networkers, your social networks, your entire communication strategy, needs to come from the same place.

A bad interaction represents a fork in the road. How you present your brand is always given a thumbs up or a thumbs down. A large part of your life is interactions with other people, not only people you physically meet every day but all your digital interactions.

Whether the conversation is just saying hello to someone you don’t know in the hallway, posting a “thank you” for re-tweeting on Twitter or telling a joke in an elevator… you are being looked at and judged in every single interaction… like it or not.

You can avoid becoming a statistic by always being award of how you present yourself. You do not have to be perfect, but you do need to be at your best. It is important to make a good impression and spread positive energy. This is a most wise marketing strategy for you and your brand.

Here are 5 key tips to making the most of every interaction from Tracey Arnish, Vice President of Talent Experience, SAP:

1. Be genuine – no one wants to interact with someone pretending they are someone they are not and most people can smell a fake a mile away.

2. Know who you are and what you stand for – in every conversation there is a chance to make an impression. Be clear who you are, what you value and be able to articulate what impact you can make and what you aspire to. This will differentiate you from others.

3. Be intentional – what is the impression you want to make? As mentioned more times then I wish I walk away from conversations wondering if the other individual has any idea as to the impression they have just left with me. Think about how you want to show up to the other individual and plan for this in advance.

4. Be considerate – considerate of the other person’s time, show up on time and conclude on time, be open to their ideas and their opinions.

5. Be curious – treat every conversation as an opportunity to learn something new from someone else. By being interested and asking good questions you form a good impression with the other person and you will likely learn something new that will benefit you in the future.

Make every interaction count. Offer to be of service. Exceeding your networkers expectations should be one of your primary objectives. Allow any networking interaction to become an integral part of your branding strategy.

“Communication, interaction, and the desire to forge stronger connections through mutual benefit are the underlying building blocks of good networking. Any activity which counts on the one-way flow of information from you to the faceless masses really isn’t networking. It’s interrupting. Be aware of it and also be aware that, like other interruptions, the end result is you just might be ignored.” ~ Greg Peters

“It’s your job to be helpful!” 😉

Contact Ty Bennett on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tybennett

BONUS Article: Reach Out – Connect – Engage

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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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

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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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Learn As Much As You Can “Before” You Begin to Network!

So… here is the problem! A lack of networking education – in my opinion – is what is missing for most newbie networkers.

They hear about networking, think its a great idea and jump in the deep end of the networking pool without the slightest knowledge about how networking really works.

NetworkStudyThat is the main reason why some people join a networking group and within six months they leave, discouraged saying that networking doesn’t work.

Anything… I repeat, ‘anything’ that propels you forward like networking can requires an in depth study of how to do it correctly! To master the art of delayed gratification is a prerequisite for effective business networking. You must also be dedicated to doing whatever it takes to make networking work and to “helping others.” If you are only in it for yourself, you are doomed to fail!

It’s not about being a business card collector or about pushing your card into someone’s hand or going on and on about your business (before the person you are talking to even shows an interest). For networking to work you must develop a network of support from people that you like and trust and who likes and trusts you.

Liking and trusting comes as a result of developing close business relationships. You can’t develop a close relationship in a meeting or two or even three. Building relationships takes time and requires mucho patience. Patience has been described as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, without getting angry or upset. Or… in the case of networking, quitting too soon!

There are several things you can do.

1. Hire a networking coach. That’s what I did when I began networking many years ago. Find someone who is dedicated to the art of networking – someone who will carefully guide you through the many things that you must learn to make networking effective.

2. Read and study good networking books. Although I may be prejudiced, my own book, “Ten Commitments of Networking,” is a great book to start with. Other networking authors worth reading include Bob Burg, Ivan Misner, Donna Fisher, and Andy Lopata. All are available online.

3. Learn from the hundreds of FREE networking articles on this Blog and on the Internet. For an up-to-date list of hundreds of networking articles, click here! As of September 24, 2013, there are more than 375 articles about Networking. You can get a college equivalent education by reading several networking articles each day and immediately putting those ideas to work for you.

4. Attend business networking seminars and workshops. Take notes. Put your notes into use as soon as possible.

5. Tag along and observe the people who appear to be doing well in networking. This will take longer because if you don’t know what you are doing it may be difficult to tell if someone else is really on the right track.

Business networking is not for the faint of heart. It takes work – real work. You don’t just go network, you plan to network. It requires some advance planning before you get to the meeting or event. You cannot be shy and network effectively. Often you may have to do something that feels uncomfortable… like walk up to a stranger, introduce yourself and ask, “How can I help you?

If you need help, ask for it. If not… prove it!

BONUS Articles: “How Can I Help You?”
Pay Attention to What Doesn’t Work!

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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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

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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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Business Cards Pack a Wallop!

Filed under: Business Cards,Follow Up — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

Business cards are small, weigh less than 1/4 of an ounce and are one of your most effective pieces of marketing literature you can invest in, provided it is used effectively. Your business card is the second most important thing to have in place when you show up. Your business card will help people remember who you are and what you do. They create your first impression, so be sure to design them with as much attention as you give to your personal image.

busNETcardNecessary info for your business card includes your name, company name, title, phone, fax and cell numbers, e-mail and your Website address. Make sure your business card is explicit about what you do. If your company name does not accurately describe what you do, add additional information. Use the back of your card to post a detailed description of what you do. Many people will call the first phone number listed on your card, so prioritize your office number or your cell.

Don’t be “business card thruster guy (or girl),” ready to force-feed your card on anyone who will take it. Something that helps me get more mileage out of my business card is by being selective about who I offer my business card to. I don’t stand there with a handful of business cards. Unless I am really interested in them, I will usually withhold my business card unless they ask for it.

10CsBe selective about whose card you take. Remember, networking is about developing close, personal and business relationships. How can you possibly build a relationship with a person when your objective is to get out there and be a business card collector? If I do not see a connection in how I might help the other person, I do not ask for their card. If they offer it, I will take it and put it in a special pocket for designated for throw-aways.

Remember to take notes on the back of the business cards of the people who you will follow up with to help you remember what was said. When you get back to the office, put all this information into your PDA or contact management software. If you tell someone you will call to follow up, keep your word. Follow up within 24 hours. Strike while the meeting is still fresh in their mind. Networkers have long memories when they are given false promises during casual conversation.

The experienced networker will often take notes about the conversation on the back of your card if they are interested in your product or service. I watch for that. When someone writes on the back of your card while you are talking to them, be sure to get their card and follow up with them because they could be very interested in you or your business.

netHQ

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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

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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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
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Monday, September 16, 2013

How Much Time Do You Spend Looking for Referrals For Others?

…OR are you a selfish networker who only goes to networking meetings to “get” whatever you can?

I thought networking was about giving business referrals to other networkers. However, when I speak to networking groups I usually ask two questions:

1. How many of you are here to get business referrals for your business? Almost everyone raises their hand.

2. How many of you brought a business referral for someone in this group today? Usually 2 or 3 hands go up or none.

referralsThat pretty much says it. Many networkers seem to be more interested in generating referrals than “giving” referrals. Not good. The way to make an impact – and in the process – call a lot of attention to yourself as a active resource is by giving.

“We must work hard for others if we want others to work hard for us. We should lead by giving.” ~ Pamela Ryckman, author of STILETTO NETWORK: Inside the Women’s Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business

We may have stumbled upon the main reason that many networking groups fail. If everyone comes to the meeting hoping to receive business lead but everyone forgets to spend a little of their time trying to find referrals to give to other members… can you see the problem? Those networking groups are a complete waste of time… it becomes more of a social gathering.

The number one rule of helping people should be to find out what’s actually valuable to them. It’s important to discover what they need. If you really want to endear yourself with someone, then talk about their business and ask how you can help. This usually allows others to open up to you. Every time I talk with a client, I spend a few minutes asking them if I can help them with anything. I do my best to find a need and fill it. Often they don’t always have anything come to mind.

I let them know that I am very well connected and am willing to make introductions to any of my networking friends and that I am willing to share my many resources and all they have to do is ask. I encourage them to describe the profile of the referral they need to meet. Simply ask what they want and need. This is a simple question that many people find hard to answer. By asking a few questions I can usually find something to keep in mind when I see an opportunity later to help. The more personal you get, the better you understand the person and build on your relationship with them.

I often will carry a “card-holder” that contains the business cards of someone they may need to know. Several times I have called that person while with my client and arranged a time for them to get together.

This takes some pre-planning. You have to schedule time to see others, then make notes to remind yourself to see if they might like for you to help by referring them to some of your trusted friends. Your intention to help must be consistent. You may even inspire others to do the same thing. A big part of your intention when networking should be to become known as a “great resource” to your networking friends. It gives you expert status and builds trust. This will help keep you in the loop with other networkers. Tell them how you can help them and at some point roll the conversation back to what it is they need. Networking is about creating value for others. I am willing to share all my contacts because these are the people in my network of support that I like and trust… with an emphasis on “trust.”

Value-of-ReferralsWhen questioned, many networkers I know admitted that the only time they think about giving a lead is on the way to a networking meeting. Those referrals are seldom ever really high-value referrals. Becoming a great networker is like everything else. You have to work at it.

I hope you noticed that all through this article I refer to “referrals” rather than business leads. You can buy various leads from many vendors and online. You usually get what you pay for. What I’m interested in giving is a high-value referral – that is, a warm introduction that means my networking friend will almost certainly get the meeting, if not get the assistance they need.

Can you imagine if everyone in your networking group would actually look for ways to help others, then return to your group with several business referrals to give to others?

I am convinced that if all networkers would make it a habit to look for referrals each week, the results would be amazing. They have been for me. When you make a new commitment to actually look for high-value referrals for others, you will elevate the trust-level in your relationships very quickly and start seeing reciprocity very soon.

Always remember: “Give and You Will Receive!” (in that order!)

BONUS Article: 5 Reasons Why You Should Give Referrals: How it Creates the Best Leads You’ve Ever Had
Are You Helping Others in the Same Way You Want Them to Help You?

netHQ

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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

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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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Network in Elevators!

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags:

Talk in elevators.

We don’t do that very often, do we? I do. It’s fun. I make it a game. It may be to only say, “Good morning!”

Network in elevatorsI once got in an elevator on the 23rd floor with a group of four gentlemen when I lived in Tulsa. As we were going down I listened to their conversation for a couple of floors and it became apparent they were attorneys. I was standing at the front of the elevator door facing them. Hmmm. I had an audience of four.

When there was a break in the conversation, I told them one of my attorney friends died recently. I told them that when he arrived at the gates of heaven, Saint Peter greeted him. The attorney said, “Saint Peter, there must be some mistake!” to which Saint Peter replied, “No mistake, you made it! You really are in heaven!” “Oh, no” the attorney replied, “I didn’t mean that. I’m only forty years old. I’m too young to die. I shouldn’t be here yet.” Saint Peter looked through his papers to see if there had been a mistake. He found the attorney’s name on the roll and told him, “Sorry, there’s been no mistake. According to your billable hours, you are eighty-seven years old.”

They all laughed, the elevator door opened and we all got off on the first floor.

We didn’t exchange business cards or introduce ourselves. That was never our intention. It was around lunch time and we were all trying to get to lunch so there was not even time for an “elevator speech!” 😉 We all laughed and headed our separate ways. My intention was just to be friendly and move on to what was next.

Several months later, I spoke at an American Management Association regional meeting. When the meeting was over, a man came up to me, asked me to sign my book and said, “I’ve heard you speak before.” I asked him if he remembered where. He was one of the attorneys in the elevator. I had just told the story about talking in elevators. He told me he thought I looked familiar, and when I told the elevator story he remembered where he saw me.

Now, I continue to tell the “rest of the story!”

He put me in touch with the meeting planner of an organization he belonged to and they later hired me for a keynote address.

Do something more than watch the numbers go by or look at your shoes when you are in elevators! It can be profitable.

BONUS Articles: No One Ever Bought Anything in an Elevator!
Do You Have an Effective “30 Second Connection?”

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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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

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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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Networking QuickTakes…

Filed under: FUN!,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags:

Here is a mixture of several networking ideas that will help you be more comfortable when networking.

Networking is NOT prospecting! You can always prospect, but good networking opportunities for developing new business contacts are rare. Use the Ten Commitments of Networking to assist you in making lots of new friends and business contacts at your next function.

handshakeWhen you show up avoid common crutches. Observe proper netiquette. Don’t arrive too late. Don’t leave too early. Don’t drink too much. Don’t gorge at the buffet table. Remember, you never have a second chance to make a good first impression. Do not gossip.

Don’t stay huddled in groups with people you already know. When holding a cold drink, hold it in your left hand to avoid cold handshakes. Remember, networking is not about swooping into the room, collecting lots of business cards, or tossing them like confetti, then doing a vanishing act.

What should you say? Asking, “What do you do?” is a mistake. That brings up a topic you most likely know nothing about. Do some research. Be tuned in to what’s happening in your city. Read the paper, look for humorous articles or movie reviews you could talk about. Develop some preplanned, interesting conversation starters.

You can greatly increase your conversation confidence by developing specific questions to help you begin and by designing answers to the questions most frequently asked about your business. Trust your instincts. Be yourself.

How about letting the other person speak first. Then ask questions. The person who is asking the questions is in control of the conversation. Knowing what the other person is all about will help you tailor your message and deliver it with more relevance.

Identify possibility in every conversation. When you intentionally look for it, you will almost always find it. Communication enables people to connect. Keep the conversation on a positive level at all times. It opens people’s minds to opportunity.

NetFUNMake observations. Share some trivia. Listen for things you have in common. Make small talk. Remember your purpose is to look for people with which to develop mutually beneficial, long-lasing relationships. Make your first hello upbeat, positive and friendly. If you don’t like your line of work, don’t talk about it. Be prepared. They will generally get around to asking what you do. Have your 30-second connection ready.

Have fun. Smile and talk to lots of people. Do not play it safe by mixing only with business colleagues and good friends. Make good eye contact. Mix and mingle. If you have “minglephobia,” get over it quickly by doing what you fear. Relax. Remind yourself that you are not the only one at this event who may be a little nervous. Expand your horizons. Move past your fears. Speaking positively helps you conquer self-doubt and energizes your spirit.

Practice the art of slipping effortlessly into conversations. When you approach a group of people who are talking, slowly step a little closer to the group. Usually someone will notice and the group will open up to include you. Listen. If you have something to add to the conversation, chime in.

Show respect to people’s comfort levels. Standing in their space is not good. Keep the distance to at least 18 inches to 2 feet when speaking face-to-face. Anything closer and they will usually back away. Be alert.

netHQ

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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

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.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reach Out – Connect – Engage

Filed under: Networking,Networking Tip — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , , ,

Three steps to power networking…

1. Reach out ~ Be active, not passive and certainly never agressive. NEVER use any schmoozy sales pitches. You can reap abundance from your connections if you first reach out to them. Successful networkers are passionate about helping others. It’s time to reach out and connect to others who share your love of networking. Stand up and stand out. Remember, networking is about developing close business relationships – someone has to make the first move. Let it be you!

connecting2. Connect ~ You can connect with people just about anywhere. It doesn’t have to be at a networking meeting or event. It could be a seminar, trade show, or a local Chamber of Commerce meet and greet.

Take the initiative. I met one of my best clients in an elevator. You just have to muster up the courage to connect… start a conversation! Communicate. Establishing rapport is really how to get connected. This is not about getting you to bombard people with business cards, shake a lot of hands, or any of that “elevator speech” stuff. I prefer calling it a branding statement or 30-second connection. It’s important, however this is not the time for that.

If you really want to succeed at networking you have a responsibility to make great connections to others. Be a connector. Develop a communication strategy. Invent some of your own ways to begin a dialogue with people. Clue: People love to talk about themselves. Listen more than you talk! I find that asking them a question that cannot be answered “yes” or “no” works well.

“Ask questions that are deeper than, “What do you do?” When possible, begin conversations with questions about someone personally, not necessarily their profession. Get to know them and attempt to find commonalities. They will tend to remember those conversations best.” ~ Darrah Brustein

Cultivate the contacts you already have and invest in those relationships first is a great idea. Never forget to reconnect too. You never know when you’ll need someone to help connect you – not always professionally. I called someone recently for a connection to a plumber.

3. Engage ~ Engage in discussions with other networkers. You don’t always have to talk about business. Attract new networkers by consistently delivering awesome business informations, ideas and suggestions about how to work together for the benefit of both. Be somebody who tirelessly answers questions, help solve problems, moderate and generally point other networkers in the right direction. Be yourself, and let your natural love of what you do in business shine through.

Give first, without an expectation of getting anything in return. Networkers will be curious about your brand – they will seek your feedback and they will want to know more about you and what makes your business work. Engaging increases your credibility. It builds trust. The conversion of networkers to advocates is really the reward for consistently delivering awesome, listening attentively, and engaging them in meaningful ways. These relationships require nurturing. When you take that time, though, the benefits to your business can be both tangible and impressive.

There is a fine line between persistence and stalking. It’s important to be consist but never a pest. Send them a handwritten note after you first meet. If they are someone you think you can help or help you, send them something interesting and of value (never an advertisement) every month or quarter. Use a combination of direct contacts (the phone) with indirect contacts (e-mail or mail). Another indirect contact such as a birthday or anniversary card, a note in the mail with a newspaper clipping they might be interested in, or an e-mail with a newsworthy article about their industry. This contact is designed to strengthen your personal relationship, and help you build rapport.

BONUS Articles: NEVER Start a Networking Conversation With, “What do you do?”
“What Do You Do For a Living?”
5 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid When Answering the Question, “What Do You Do?”

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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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