In the 8th of his series to the LPN business networking strategist Andy Lopata shares his tips for breaking down the barriers to successful business networking.
I am frequently amazed at the masks people wear when engaging with their network. If everyone is doing so well in business and work, how on earth have we just been through seven years of a global economic downturn?!
Surround yourself with people with whom you can be open and honest…and then do so. If you don’t tell people where you are facing challenges, they are going to be unable to help you.
And whether or not you have established that trust, be honest in all of your interactions with people you meet. Sooner or later, if you’re not, people find out.
Honouring your Word
Strongly linked to Honesty is seeing through what you promise to other people. Just as when people find you to be dishonest, word spreads quickly when you get a reputation for letting people down.
Don’t make any commitments without thinking them through. That ranges from introductions you promise to make and support you offer, to telling someone you’ll follow up with them after exchanging cards at a networking event.
H is also for…
Read any book on networking skills and the author will tell you that ‘acting as the host’, even if you’re not, is a great way to engage with other attendees. Show an interest in others, introduce them to each other and never leave anyone standing on their own.
Relax and enjoy the experience. If you’re happy in the networking environment, you’ll be a far more pleasant person for everyone else there.
Take yourself out of the equation in every conversation and seek to help other people. The more you do so, the more others will want to help you. But don’t expect help in return, just give for the pleasure of doing so.
Part of being Happy is to relax and enjoy yourself. Carry a sense of humour with you into every conversation and you’ll find it so much easier to build rapport. Just use it advisedly!
Networking events for different people! Ultimately, they are neither. They offer opportunities to meet new people and discover interesting conversations.
A key part of making a strong first impression, so get it right. Not weak and weedy, nor overpowering. Your handshake should represent the right blend of self-confidence and empathy.
Careful what you eat before you go into meetings…and take some strong mints with you!
View the series:
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Follow Andy on twitter @AndyLopata