Don’t expect to connect with everyone you meet at a networking function or in your networking group!
You cannot possibly always be in a position to help everyone. There will always be a few networkers that have businesses that you may never be able to refer business referrals to. How can you help someone that you think you cannot help? You may be able to help them in other ways.
• Introduce them to someone else in or out of your group that may be able to help.
“Be a Sponge!” Be listening for ways that you can help. Soak it in. Don’t ignore them. It’s all about helping business people connect to other business people. Hang with them to learn more about their business and the ways you or others you know might be able to help. The way to build great partnerships is to focus on what you can do for others. Connect them to people in and out of your network.
Don’t do it to “get ahead” or because you need something. Do it because it’s fun and you’ll learn so much about people and their businesses.
To find out more about how you can help, ask this question: How would I know if someone I’m talking to would be a good contact for you? This gives them the opportunity to tell you who he or she would love to meet. Ask them to explain clearly what they need so you will have a much better chance of helping them. If you are unable to identify a referral for the other person before your next meeting, don’t sweat it. Own up to it and then follow up. Use your next conversation as an opportunity to ask more questions. Offer to meet with them to learn more about each other. What can I do to help you connect with the right business partners, is another great question to ask.
Connecting with people is genuinely figuring out whether you share the same passions – that’s where the most effective connections happen. It’s willing to open up and have conversations about anything and everything, not just about business.
Your success as a networker depends on how well you can listen and learn from the people in our network. The faster you and your networking partner learn what you need to know about each other, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship. Listening for the needs and problems of others can also position you to engage the services of the people you know.
Networking isn’t a one-sided thing. It takes two people, and a willingness on both sides to help the other out. You may not see any immediate benefits to helping others, but eventually you’ll be happy you took the time to offer your assistance.
It’s important to be the one people go to when they need something. That means suggesting somebody else for a job when you can, putting them in touch with an acquaintance they should know… You have to give, give, give! Give information, time, energy, contacts and encouragement.
I recommend prioritizing your networking contacts and frequently reaching out to contacts who are most useful to you, otherwise known as your inner circle. These are the people you are closest to and trust. Make sure you aren’t burning any bridges along the way. Just because some of your contacts may not seem useful to you at the moment, doesn’t mean they won’t eventually be able to help you out.
Be a good listener. Effective listening is one of the most important things you can learn. Be totally present and take it all in. One of the best ways to develop this trait is to give your undivided attention to the individual with whom you’re developing a referral relationship. You can offer the help, the thanks, the listening ear, but if you aren’t sincerely interested in others, it will show – and they’ll know it. Those who have developed successful networking skills convey their sincerity at every turn.
Remember the things you learn and discover about those in your network. Make notes if you must, but the things you learn today you will be able to call upon to help you with them or someone else in the future.
I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to allow your positive attitude to show. The more confident you are in your ability to network, the faster you grow relationships. It makes people want to associate and cooperate with you. When you are positive, you’re like a magnet; people want to be around you and will send their friends, family and associates to you. Positive attitudes are contagious.
Great networkers keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities to advance other people’s interests. They offer to help others whenever they can, because they truly want to help. It’s as simple as that. They get joy out of helping other people succeed.
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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