Andy Lopata, Guest Author
Be yourself. People will quickly see through your mask otherwise.
It’s too easy to succumb to pressure to portray the image of a successful, confident individual. There are certainly times and places where it’s right to share your successes and others where it’s important not to show weakness, but at all times you should be true to yourself.
People soon recognise when you’re putting on an act and they’ll quickly lose respect for you. A strong network include people you feel safe confiding in and turning to for help. Such trust is often repaid in spades.
Ignore advice, like the recent Schumpeter column in The Economist, that encourages you to flatter others and fake an interest in them. Be naturally interested and they will be interested in you.
Asking – successful networking is built on developing strong relationships, giving to your network and connecting people. But ultimately, if you lay the right foundations, you have a network who will want to support you.
But you need to ask. Don’t simply assume that people will know when to help you and how. If you have built strong relationships and know that your network is happy to help, make it easy for them to do so. Ask for help when you need it and be clear and specific about the help you need.
Don’t let fears about being a burden or looking vulnerable hold you back. As long as you ask someone with whom you have a strong relationship, they will be more likely to get pleasure from helping you rather than be annoyed. And if you frame the question well you can look strong, rather than weak.
A is also for…
Attention ~ Stop those eyes from wandering! Give your full attention to the person opposite you. People are interested in people who are interested in them.
Attendance ~ If you’re a member of a networking group don’t expect results without showing up. You need to be present and to commit to the group and its members.
Altruism and Advocacy ~ Seek to help, promote and connect others without expectation of instant, or direct, return.
Appreciation and Acknowledgment ~ Don’t let people in your network feel as though you take them for granted. You’ll soon see the back of them.
Attitude ~ Be positive in how you interact with your network, especially when posting online late at night!
Video Copyright © 2015 – Andy Lopata. Reprinted with permission. Labeled “Mr Network” by The Sun, Andy Lopata was called “one of Europe’s leading business networking strategists” by the Financial Times. The co-author of two books on networking, Andy is a featured columnist the US magazine “The National Networker,” as well as being regularly quoted in the national press. Previously, Andy was Managing Director of UK network Business Referral Exchange. Andy has since worked with companies from one-man bands to organisations such as NatWest Bank, Merrill Lynch and Mastercard to help them realise the full potential from their networking. He is a former vice-president of the Professional Speakers Association. Visit Andy’s Website and BLOG.
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