Gayle Hallgren-Rezac co-author Work The Pond!
Effective networking may seem like old hat, but chances are that you could benefit from a refresher. In our training seminars on Positive Networking®, we get attendees to rate their skills at the beginning of the course. We recently worked with a group who rated themselves extremely high. They liked networking, and, trust me, that’s not normal! And they felt they had pretty good networking skills. So after our half-day boot camp, they went off to a luncheon speaker event. They had an opportunity to network at the reception and then during the lunch. After the luncheon we debriefed and they were full of new and fresh ideas.Here are some uncommon common sense reminders:
Effective networking basics
We all want to practice Positive Networking but sometimes we revert back to “sales mode”. This is transactional networking which is all about “what can the people I meet do for me; how can they help me?” Positive Networking is a different philosophy; it’s discovering what you can do for someone else. It’s not so much about closing a sale, as opening a relationship. It works and it takes all the pressure is off.
Bring business cards
Take business cards with you and give them out. While this hardly seems like a secret, it is! Half the people we meet don’t have business cards with them. And if they do bring them, they don’t give them out. We encouraged our team to give out their cards when they first met someone. And, if they weren’t given one in return, they asked for one. It was easy and it worked.
Add value to every event you attend. “I didn’t meet anyone worthwhile” is a common networking lament. The question to ask is, “What did those people gain from meeting me?” Stay focused when talking to others. Ask good questions and smile. Your smile is your most effective networking asset. Never leave home without it.
Bring a friend
Taking a tag teammate is a really smart idea. As I mentioned, this group we were training was very savvy, but we sent them to the event with a tag teammate. They found it much easier to circulate with “back up”. They met more people and seemed to enjoy “working the pond” together.
They loved the idea of walking around and introducing themselves to everyone at their table before the lunch. They felt confident exchanging business cards and then put those cards on the table next to where they were sitting. It helped them bring people across the table into the conversation. They could address them by name and also had some ideas regarding conversation topics.
Look for eye colour
Our team loved the idea of focusing on the other person with this simple technique: finding out the colour of the other person’s eyes. The feedback we received was that our team members felt that they listened better and made a more meaningful connection.
Everyone was tuned in to opportunities to connect people. It’s great to be able to say, “I just met someone who I think you should meet; let me introduce you.” So turn on your Connector Radar and keep it turned on because connecting doesn’t stop when the event ends.
Best advice? Go to an event and try out these really simple ideas for more enjoyable and effective networking.
Related to effective networking