In the next instalment of his series business networking strategist Andy Lopata shares his tips for breaking down the barriers to successful business networking.
Earn people’s trust and support by being true to your word, honest and reliable. Never take any action that will reflect poorly on you or on anyone who associates with you.
In the Room
In his book, ‘You Had Me At Hello’, Nigel Risner, who has contributed regularly to this series, says, “When you’re in the room, be in the room.
“Enjoy the process of meeting new people and learning about their business. Show them that you believe in what you do…let your enthusiasm work its magic and whet people’s appetite for more.”
When you’re in conversation with someone, be ‘in the room’ for them, giving them all of your attention and focus.
I is also for…
Try to be aware of others and include them in the conversation. Be aware of people who might find it more difficult because of hearing difficulties or other challenges and adapt your conversation to engage with them.
Innovation and Ideas
Your network is a fantastic source of new and innovative ideas. Be open to suggestions from people from a range of backgrounds and also be ready to offer your own views to others when requested.
Anything but ‘What do you do?’ please! Many people try wacky ideas to be different and trigger a conversation but just be yourself and find out what you have in common. (Clue, it’s usually the circumstances under which you are meeting.)
‘People are interested in people who are interested in them’. Show a genuine interest in the people to whom you are speaking.
Don’t stand on the sidelines. Volunteer, invite people and support your network by getting involved and taking responsibility for its success.
Initiate and Interact
If you wait for people to approach you, you could find yourself on the sidelines for a long time. Initiate conversations with others, get involved online, at meetings, on courses or elsewhere and make sure that you interact with a wide range of people.
Network with intent and purpose. Failure to have a clear idea of what success looks like will limit your possibilities.
Build a powerful network who will speak about you to the people you want to meet. Let them influence decision makers on your behalf so that you are positioned as a trusted connection.
Not fond of taking centre stage or speaking in groups, introverts actually often make the best networkers. Their ability to listen and give space to others is a tremendous strength.
View the series:
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