In the 7th of his series to the LPN business networking strategist Andy Lopata shares his tips for breaking down the barriers to successful business networking.
Generosity / Givers Gain™
BNI, the world’s largest referral focused organisation, is established on the principle of ‘Givers Gain’. If you give and support others, they will want to support you in return.
You need to be ready and willing to give generously to your network without expectation of any direct return. Seek to help and support those around you. The more you do so, the more people will want to support you in return, even though that return may not come directly from the same direction in which you gave.
Alternatively, you can just sit back and expect people to help you first. Good luck with that!
My whole business was established on the hypothesis that many people merely network because they are told it’s a good idea and have no clear focus on what a return on their investment looks like. That’s the same whether talking about formal networking groups, networking sites, conferences or just developing a strong network of people around you.
And it hasn’t changed.
Know your objectives by understanding how other people can help you. The clearer in your mind those objectives are, the more likely it is that you’ll recognise the right opportunities when they present themselves.
And also get to know the goals of the people you network with so that you are better equipped to recognise opportunities for them.
G is also for…
Even the smallest business can build networks across the globe now. We don’t need to think small, the opportunities are boundless if we reach out, connect internationally and ask for help.
Show some! Make sure that people know that you appreciate their time spent listening, supporting and providing advice, ideas and introductions. Demonstrate real gratitude by making your thank you personal.
See ‘Authenticity’. Be yourself and bring the best version of yourself to every interaction.
Grace and Good Manners
Treat people the way you’d like to be treated. Don’t write people off as of no relevance to you or make them feel small and worthless. Say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ and ask for permission before thrusting a business card in their face.
See ‘Courage’. Making yourself vulnerable, whether approaching strangers or asking for help, takes guts.
By giving to your network and being willing to accept from them, everyone grows. Both personally and professionally.
What you want to say whenever you meet anyone who hasn’t read The A-Z of Networking but clearly needs to!
View the series:
Check out Andy’s blog by simply clicking here
Follow Andy on twitter @AndyLopata