By Gayle Hallgren co-author Work The Pond!
Let’s face it; networking gets a bad rap because so many people experience “negative networking”. In our book WORK THE POND! Use the Power of Positive Networking to Leap Forward in Work and Life (Prentice Hall) we introduce you to Ned. He’s Alota Networker. Ned (or Nelly) is the person who takes your business card, looks at it, decides you aren’t important enough to talk to and drops you like a hot potato.
Ned is a “darter”. While talking to you, his eyes are darting around the room looking for his next victim. And, ask him what he does and he gives you his “infomercial.” The next day he sends you the Dreaded Drive-By, a form email stating how great it was to meet you and his sales pitch. Ned’s goal is to find people who can help him. Sorry Ned, but you’ve got it wrong.
Positive Networking is not all about you. It’s discovering what you can do for someone else. While there is a place for transactional networking, the majority of networking opportunities are not about closing a sale but opening a relationship. “People do business with people they know and trust.”
THE BONUS: EASIER CONVERSATIONS
Because discovering what you can do for someone else is a process of learning about people, it creates natural conversational fire starters. Ultimately, you may do nothing more than meet someone and hand out your business card. However, in the back of your mind you should be thinking, “Is there something I might be able to do for this person, now or in the future?”
Here are some simple positive networking ideas:
- Bring two people together at every opportunity: “Meet Dan. He’s a marketing genius; you need to talk with him.”
- Act like a host. Rescue a wallflower. Include people who are on the sideline or left out of the mealtime conversations.
- Pass on some information or a contact name that would help someone in her endeavours: “I’d like to set up a meeting with a friend of mine who may be able to help you.”
- Tell someone about your product or service if you believe it can be of use to him: “Since you do business in Mexico, you might be interested in the online translation services our company offers.”