When asked why they joined the Chamber, most members tell me that they want to grow their business by Networking. But what exactly is Networking? Obviously, it is about meeting and interacting with people, but we have come to learn that there is a big difference simply attending a Networking event and truly becoming a Master Networker.
In this article I am going to give you some of the Dos and Don’ts that will help you to hone your Networking skills. But before I move-on, I want to restate the single most important key aspect to Networking: Be Interested and Not Interesting. A national networking association uses the motto “Giver Gains”, but the reality is that most of us Network based on the radio call sign of WIIFM-“What’s In It For Me”. It’s understandable that we all want results, otherwise, why join the Chamber, but if your Networking strategies are self serving then your efforts are going to be less fruitful.
Developing your Networking skills does take some practice. Apply the following statements to improve your Networking results:
- Make Friends
Take it easy and learn about the person. Establish a common ground where a natural conversation can take place.
- Be Present
No matter who you are talking to-pay attention! Don’t lose eye contact, if you want to move on, you will find a natural break in the conversation, and end on a good note.
- Be General
Once you have gotten to a discussion on their specific business, refer to ways to help them in general terms. Ask them what made them successful or how they started their business. Remember, be interested.
- Build Your Relationships
Every time you see someone that you have talked with before, you have the opportunity to advance the relationship. If you have forgotten their name, ASK, my bet is that they forgot yours too.
If you have other relationships that may help the person, ask them if the would be interested in talking to them.
- Set Goals
You might set goals for talking with a specific person; meet someone new each time; set appointments and follow up calls.
Have fun. If you weren’t at the event, you wouldn’t meet anyone…so have fun! People like to meet people who are having a good time.
- Sell Your Product or Service the First Time You Meet Someone
Remember it’s all about being interested in the person, not selling them.
- Be Shy
Everyone in the room is there to network in most cases. Say “hello”, meet people, and make some new acquaintances.
- Remain Stagnant with Those You Have Met Before
Once you have developed a good relationship through your networking event, do a one-on-one outside the event to further build the relationship.
- Be Desperate
You must approach all situations at a level at least equal to the person across from you. Therefore, if you feel you NEED to close a sale, others will sense it and look for an exit. Change your paradigm to meeting people.
- Get Too Comfortable
You are there to meet new people. Don’t meet a friend or simply enjoy the food.
Follow these basic fundamentals, use your 60-Second Elevator Pitch to introduce yourself, and show genuine interest in helping people achieve their goals will put you on the path of becoming a Master Networker.
“I will bring abundance to everyone I meet”…Master Networker motto