In his continuing series business networking strategist & Fellow of The Learning & Performance Institute Andy Lopata shares his tips for breaking down the barriers to successful business networking.
Motivation, Mood and Mindset
Networking effectively relies on the right state of mind. If you approach it with reluctance, distaste, negativity or fear then that can easily influence how you are perceived.
Understand why you are networking and what it will help you achieve. Be comfortable with building long-term relationships rather than hunting for the quick sale. And if you really are in the wrong mood and can’t shift that, take your negativity elsewhere and come back another day. Otherwise you’ll do yourself more harm than good.
Getting your Message Right
Many of the benefits of networking occur when you’re not in the room. People across your network will have a host of opportunities to talk about you, create opportunities for you and to refer or recommend you. And you won’t necessarily know about it.
So what are you doing to equip your network to recognise those opportunities and know what to say. You need to create a message that is sticky (easily remembered) and transferable (accurately repeated) and be comfortable sharing it in conversation whenever the opportunity arises.
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Managing your Network
Are you using an effective relationship management system to keep track of the contacts you make and ensure you maintain a strong connection?
Whether 1-2-1 to small groups, seeing people in person is the most powerful way of strengthening relationships and providing mutual support.
Networking is not about exchanging business cards, elevator pitches or connections online. Focus on the depth of your relationships as much as on the breadth of your network.
If you find the right formal network to help you achieve your goals, whether online or offline, join, commit and know what you have to put in to ensure you achieve the results you want.
You’ll not get the most out of any event by standing alone or in a group with your friends.
Good networkers don’t interrupt people who are talking to others, push their cards and elevator pitches onto strangers or visibly write people off as soon as they’ve met them.
It’s not about Me, Me, Me
But it is about them, them, them. “Blessed are they who give without remembering and receive without forgetting”, Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco.
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