Networking Conversation

At a networking event, once you have exchanged names, conversation will likely ensue. Engage In It.

O (Paste)

In so doing, do not start the conversation directly focused on business or professional aspects. That can be off-putting and serve to create an uncomfortable situation. Rather, engage in some small talk. Inquire as to the origin of their name. Ask them about their impressions on the event itself. Get them talking on anything other than business. This will serve to make the connection comfortable.

After a few minutes (or even several minutes of small talk), segue over to more professional topics. Ask about their business. How long have they done it? What did they do before? How did they get started?

Once the professional discussion has run its course, segue back to small talk. You can reflect on something professional they said, and tie it back to something within small talk.

As you engage in conversation, be sure to listen to what they have to say. Focus on them, and not your watch, or who is coming through the door, or anything going on around you.

You should express a genuine interest in what they have to say, especially if it is a topic that you set in motion with one of your questions. To do this, face up to them, make eye contact, and:

• Make sounds and comments to indicate understanding (or simply nod your head) … “Oh, interesting.”

• Ask questions to clarify things … “Now, when you [blank], do you mean?

• Echo back what they have said in summary fashion … “So you basically got into business because …”

As they talk look for things you have in common, whether they are shared backgrounds, similar experiences, or ways to relate to them. You can use these to interject or ask questions, as a means of keeping the conversation going.

Initiating Contact At Networking Events

It is simply up to you to initiate contact. That is worth repeating, it is up to you to initiate contact. Alternatively stated, DO NOT wait (or expect) others to make contact with you. Making contact is 100% your obligation, if you want a productive experience.

There is no magic to initiating contact. It only involves three simple things.

1) Make meaningful eye contact with people, where you look at them and they look you back in the eye. There is nothing strange about this. It is completely human.

2) With eye contact established, smile. This is not a forced smile, but a genuine “it is good to see you” smile. Chances are, human nature will kick in and they will smile back.

3) With that eye contact and a smile, simply say, “hello.” They may say “hello” in return, or they may say nothing.

Whatever the case, it was your objection (as well as sole obligation) to initiate contact. You have done that. Congratulations.

This sounds simple and it is. Nevertheless, this may be a little out of your comfort zone. If it is, here is a great way to practice. Go anywhere there are people (for example, shopping) and simply naturally wander around making eye contact, smiling, and saying, “hello.” It may seem unnatural at first, but in time you will develop a level of comfort that you can utilize in a more professional setting.

G (Results)

Location: A Key To Networking Success

Social Network of People

At networking events appropriately position yourself. In fishing, you go to where the fish are or will be. In networking, the same logic holds. Stand where you will most likely be amongst people. Near the entrance. At the buffet or bar. Close to other high traffic areas.

If you stand outside the main stream of human flow (or worse, sit off to the side), you virtually eliminate your opportunity for having anything come from the networking event – immediately or ever.

Assuming you have positioned yourself appropriately you will encounter people. Like a parade, from your position people will go meandering by.

 

Overcoming Aversion To Attending Networking Events

According to research, among the fears of a great many people are …
• Death By Fire;
• Public Speaking; and
• Vacationing With In-Laws

Shortly behind those is finding ones self in a room of total strangers. And, even if you don’t fear that situation, you might NOT be totally comfortable with it. But it does not have to be this way.

The first thing to ensure that you overcome the anxiety of being at events is to Have The Right Frame of Mind. While this might not need mentioning, there are plenty of people who trip themselves up at networking events before they even actually show up.

First, remember that networking works. At any particular event it might not work exactly how you want it, but before you embark on the networking event, you need to truly believe that the networking process works and your mere presence has set that in motion.

Internet Social Network

While your mere presence is important, you will totally undermine your efforts if you bring with you anything but a positive disposition. No, not every day (month or year, for that matter) can be a good one, however, there is something good about each. Reflect on the positive aspects of your personal and professional life. Do what you can to be of uplifting spirits. Remember, while support groups can be a networking opportunity, most networking events are not designed to be support groups. Leave your worries at the door, to the extent possible.

Finally, embark on any networking event that a sincere expectation will come from it. Now, it might not be all that you hoped for (after all there is no guarantee (or even likelihood) that you will get a client out of it. Know this, however, something will come from you being there. You might meet someone that can refer you clients. You might meet someone that puts you one step closer to that. You might reconnect with a former client or center of influence. You might gain a piece of information that holds all sorts of value. There is a plethora of potential benefit that can come from any networking event. You will never get it all, but you will always likely get something.

Building A Networking Relationship 7 of 7

As a business person, you need things today (clients, information, and contacts). Guess what? You are going to need them tomorrow, and the next day, and next year. Thus, creating and nurturing productive relationships is an ongoing endeavor. Your job is never done.

Know this: Some days your networking efforts are going to seem worthwhile. It is easy to keep after it. Other days your networking efforts are going to seem like a complete waste. You will want to swear it off. Don’t.

You need to have faith. Opportunity comes from the most unlikely places and it is all the result of productive relationships. Never quit trying to build Know, Like, and Trust.

To summarize, remember to be successful at anything. Knowledge is important. What is vital, however, is being proficient at networking. Networking, though, is about building solid relationship where people know you, like you, and trust you. Those things are achieved through certain actions and interactions with those in your network. These actions involve consistent generosity, reliability, and commitment to other, just to mention a few.

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Building A Networking Relationship 5 of 7

Getting people to “Know, Like, and Trust” you is dependent upon human interaction, Remember, however, your network (or any network, for that matter) is built one relationship at a time.

I (Relationship)

There is an Indian proverb that says, “An eagle that chases two rabbits, catches none.” This is true of relationships as well. You will not be able to develop lasting Know, Like, and Trust if you are focused on multiple relationships at any one time. In fact, the more relationships you attempt to develop at once, the less effective you become. 

The point to this topic is this: As you are out being involved, do not feel the need to race about meeting as many people as possible … having quick, shallow conversations … collecting business cards and then haphazardly following up with a plethora of people you can hardly remember. 

Rather work to have involved conversations with just a few people (and then attend another gathering and do the same). Learn about people. Invest time in who they are. Be genuinely interested. Conduct yourself so that when you follow up, you can do so with substance.           

By working to develop relationships one person at a time, you become more effective developing relationships, in short people will Know, Like, and Trust you.

Building A Networking Relationship: 1 of 7

“How Do I Go About Getting Others To Know, Like & Trust Me?”In the world of business and professional networking, that is the $64,000 question.

One Answer is Never Stop Giving. The Golden Rule of Networking states “give first, get second.” In short, if you want to get things from your network, you need to give to it. Focus on giving to others … give referrals … give additional contacts … give opportunities … give information … give encouragement … give support … give, give, give.

When you give to others they cannot help but Know, Like and Trust you. As a result the people you give to will want to return the generosity. In addition, you will develop the reputation of being a “generous person.” This will inspire others to want to contribute to you, as they come to believe that you are likely to give back.

This is powerful and should become almost a daily habit.

  • Share information with others and they will share information back.
  • Give referrals to centers of influence in your network and they will go out of their way to return the deed.
  • Help your prospective clients with things unrelated to what you sell and you will be forever on the top of their mind (perhaps referring you clients down the road).
  • Be supportive of your clients and vendors and they will “rave” to others about you.

With everyone you encounter, ask yourself, “In what way could I help them?” When the answers come to you, take action. That will build Know, Like, and Trust like nothing else.

J (Giving)

 

 

 

Networking Works

G (Results)

There is tremendous value in networking and networking adds value to you. Networking is much more than prospecting and selling. In general, it involves interacting with those around you (face-to-face, over the telephone, e-mail or text, and even using social media). Nevertheless, you engage in networking for the purpose of the people around you and at the same time position yourself to receive help.

Networking Works!

Now it may not work HOW you would like it to work. For example, you go to a networking event hoping to meet accountants who might know of people interested in buying a franchise. To that end, nothing pans out, but you do learn of a job-transition group that you were not aware of. Networking did not work HOW you wanted, but it worked.

Networking may not work WHERE you want it to work. The next day standing in line to get coffee, you strike up a conversation with someone who reveals in polite conversation that they are looking for more freedom in their professional life. Networking did not work WHERE you wanted, but it worked.

Finally, networking may not work WHEN you want it to work. For example, again, you go to a networking event hoping to make contacts to help you find clients interested in franchising. You seem to come up empty. Then a month later, a year later, or even a decade or more later, someone reconnects with you from that event looking to be your client. Trust me, this happens. Again, Networking did not work WHEN you wanted, but it worked.

Assessing Your Networking Asset

Once you realize that your networking builds value in your life, the nature reaction is, “How much value do I have?”

Certainly, this is not as simple as counting nickels and dimes or tallying hours worked. And while there are complicated formulas for assessing one’s social capital, there are three rather simplistic means of gaining a thumbnail measurement of your social capital … assessing connectivity … density … or potential. Let’s touch on each of these.

Assessment #1 is Connectivity. Answer this question “Who do I know?” Stop and think about it. Take an inventory of the people you know. High School. College. Neighbors. Community contacts. Church. The gym. And the list goes on and on. You likely know lots of people, and as you meet more your social capital grows.

Assessment #2 is Density. Think about it. If you knew ten people and those ten people all knew each other, your network is so dense (or interconnected) that the social capital is nowhere near as great as if you knew ten people and none of those people knew each other. So it is not just how many people you know that is important, but how many of those people know each other. Certainly, it is not reasonable to think that no one in your network knows anyone else, but you do want to have a broad, diverse network where you know lots of people and they are relatively disconnected from one another.

Assessment #3 is Potential. It is important how many people you know. And it is important how many of those people you know, know each other. But another means of assessing your network is to look through the people you know and see the people they know that you do not currently know. If you know ten people and they have relatively poor networks themselves, you are worse off than if you know only five people, but those five are extremely well connected. 

Take a moment now and then to assess the value of your network. In these moments, ask yourself:

·         How can I increase my Connectivity;

·         How can I lessen my network Density; and

·         How can I enhance the Potential of my network

Social Network of People

Your Networking Creates An Asset

Your life is comprised of various assets. There is physical capital such as money, investments, homes, cars and other belongings. There is human capital, such as your ability to work, think and do things. And there is social capital, which the invisible benefit that your network  provides.

Know this, when you network, it is not an expense of your time. Do not think of it in those terms. Certainly some networking is more productive than others, but understand that any networking is an investment

. Prospecting: An Investment.

 Attending An Event: An Investment.

 Volunteering: An Investment.

 Socializing: An Investment.

 Think about networking as a component of building your personal wealth. When you network, you build value in your life. So get out and network. As you do, feel as if your net worth is growing… because it is.

Social Network of People