February 2018 Motivate

The Networking Tips Everyone Needs


Written By: John Spence

One of the most important factors in building a highly successful career or business is the ability to be superb at networking. Yet many of us struggle with meeting new people and creating strong working relationships with them. So here are a few ideas on how to be a better networker.

  • Focus solely on how you can help the other person. Don’t talk about your company, your products or your services, there will be time for that later. Begin the relationship with a strong desire to add value to the other person.
  • One of the best ways to help people is to introduce them to other people in your network that you think can assist them. You want to be positioned as a connector, someone who puts people together for their mutual benefit.
  • A question I occasionally ask is, “What are three or four challenges you are facing right now in your business?” Once you have collected this information, you can examine your network for individuals or organizations you can introduce them to who could be of assistance.
  • In a networking relationship, it is 90 percent give and 10 percent take. Offer value, offer assistance, make connections, keep them at top-of-mind when opportunities present and act on them. Then when you ask for help, it will likely be reciprocated.
  • Do not hesitate to ask someone attending the same networking event if they will introduce you to a few people they already know.
  • Contact the person hosting the networking event and ask them if they will introduce you to several people.
  • Ask the person hosting the networking event about some of the key people attending, then do some research so you can strike up a conversation based on your knowledge of their background and business. If they ask you why you know so much about them, tell them you heard they were going to be at the event and you did some research because you are interested in what they do.
  • When you meet someone you think is valuable for your network, be sure to send an email or handwritten note within a day or two to tell him or her what a pleasure it was to meet and you would like to stay in contact.
  • When you make contact with someone within your network, make sure that it is going to be viewed as something valuable. You want people to be excited when they get an email from you, so attach an article, a blog link, YouTube link, a podcast or a book recommendation on a topic that you know they have interest.
  • When you meet someone new who you find interesting, think of your existing network to see if opportunities or mutual benefits might exist by making introductions.
  • When someone introduces you to a person in their network, be sure to thank them for making the introduction and let them know that you are open to meeting anyone else they think might find value in being connected to you.
  • Social media is amazing, but you still need to build strong personal relationships. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to make connections around the world, but then follow up with personal interaction to create a real relationship with the people that you feel would best fit into your network.
  • Networking is not just about getting business, one of the most powerful things I have gained from my networking is the confidence that comes with knowing if I don’t have the answer to a problem, I can find somebody that does. I don’t need to be that smart, I just need to be connected to people who are.

These are just a few things that I came up with off the top of my head, I’m sure there are several more you could add to this list. But here is my point: if you are not doing all or most of this then you’re not truly serious about helping your people, and your company, to be as successful as possible. A good deal of what I have listed is absolutely free, much of it is very inexpensive and only a few things require significant financial investment. But I can tell you this, not doing the things on this list will cost you much, much more.

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John Spence has been recognized as one of the top 100 business thought leaders and as one of the top 500 leadership development experts in the world. He is an international keynote speaker and management consultant and has written five books on business and life success. www.johnspence.com 

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