A networking RANT? At least, you know what you’re in for. 😉 I’m going to assume that because you came to this networking blog that you might give me the opportunity to rant, just a bit. Hear me out.
First of all, I have never been content with meeting people and swapping business cards. That seldom yields anything other than modest results. That’s really not networking. That’s being a card collector. And we all know what usually happens to these cards. They sit on a corner of your desk collecting dust and eventually they get thrown away and with them goes missed opportunities.
Standing when in your networking group and giving your elevator speech (I call it a 30-second connection) will not get much results unless yours is creative and exciting enough to move people to connect with you. Most people offer a boring traditional; undifferentiated introduction, some of them lasting several minutes. I heard no one telling the members in the room the kind of people you want to meet and who would be a good contact for them. They start with their name and simply waffled on about all of the things they do and about what they want you to buy. Most people lose me after their names and what they do. Their introductions were generally passionless, un-focused, made them sound generic and in most cases, unless you were looking for those specific services, would have had no impact whatsoever.
Networking is the practice of bringing together people of different business backgrounds to further their varied goals by exchanging information, ideas and services. To be street smart, networkers must learn how to wring the maximum benefit out of every business networking opportunity. Smaller networking groups – with 40 to 60 active members – are one of the best ways to generate new business leads, especially considering that these groups often only admit one business from each industry.
That’s all well and good, however, networkers who are street smart know that when they focus on seeking out other networkers to connect with, the secret to success is to find out what they need and go about looking for ways to help them. In other words, be a giver… FIRST… not a taker. Helping them could be giving them business referrals, information, finding a new business resource for them and more. The referrals usually come after the time you have spent developing the relationship, seldom before. And you never nurture the relationship because you want something from them. You’re a giver… remember? If you want to call attention to yourself, learn to pay attention to others. This kind of networking eventually leads to benefits for both.
It may seem that I often rant about people who really haven’t a clue about networking. However, if you look carefully at what I say about networking, it’s really not about people who really haven’t a clue about networking… it’s more about those who network actively, who are doing some of the right things, and seem to stay stuck without much further motion. You may not be who I am writing for, however, if you are… it’s high time you get off your behind and promise to do more but not necessarily the same stuff you’ve been doing. Learn some new things about networking, begin to DO those things and never stop this cycle. Networking is not about starting, and stopping and starting, and stopping. I promise. It doesn’t work that way.
Many networkers are not that invested in other people. Networking is part of that investment. The successful networkers that I know are investors in people and love to help them.
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 funny thing about networkers is we stay stuck because it’s more comfortable than putting in the necessary effort that could literally change our lives! We don’t know what we don’t know. What a sad state of affairs when we are afraid to pursue new networking ideas because the olds ones aren’t working for us anymore and we are too darn stubborn to change. Don’t be lazy. It takes time and hard work to do anything that can pay off like networking. Devote more time to networking. Make networking part of your job. It will benefit you personally and help you to reach heights in business you’ve never imagined.
I speak as one who has spent more then half my life as a networker, the founder of 10 very successful networking groups and a network teacher and – I don’t mean to brag – but I know what I am talking about.
Thank you for being here and for hearing me out. Sometimes you just need a committed listener. I needed the opportunity to rant, just a bit. You probably have never felt that way. 😉
This stuff works. I truly want it to work for you too.
If you know anyone who needs to hear this… please share it with them or with your networking group.
How can I help you? Your thoughts and ideas are welcome in the “Comments” section.
Copyright © 2015 – 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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