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.
I couldn’t lead with anything else could I?! Mass networks have, to my mind, negligible value if they lack deep connections. When you consider whether a network is strong, the quality of the relationships is a vital ingredient.
Be curious. Find out about the other person. Ask questions and then ask more based on their responses. The more you find out about other people the easier it is to recognise how you can help them, what opportunities they might have to support you and simply on what level you can best engage with them.
Q is also for…
While quantity of a network is not the key ingredient, you won’t achieve much if your network is too small. Always look to build your network, particularly where it is weak.
Will people remember what you say and be significantly inspired by it to tell other people?
Many people try to be quirky to stick out from the crowd. I’m not a fan. Be yourself, be authentic and be memorable by the way you engage with people, not by being unusual.
Remember, it’s not all about you. Be quiet and listen. And if someone else is being quiet, allow them the space to join your conversation too, they may struggle to make themselves heard.
Relationships take time to build. Don’t quit networking groups or on relationships with individuals before you’ve allowed them to flourish.
Quick Follow up
Networking is not dating, you don’t need to play hard to get or worry about appearing needy! Follow up promptly after meeting people.
There are hosts of networking opportunities, don’t throw yourself at every one. Understand what you want to achieve and qualify out the invitations that don’t quite fit.
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