Have you ever noticed how some people ‘get’ networking and others don’t? Have you met people who tell you that networking doesn’t work for them, even though they’ve been trying to do it for years?
Networking isn’t just about turning up and having work land in your lap. It takes time and effort. This issue of Scribbles looks at some things that work and some that don't - in my opinion! Share your views by answering my latest question on LinkedIn.
Do You GET Networking?
So what is acceptable at networking meetings? What can you get away with? Here are a few of my favourites!
Business card bingo. I once heard someone ask how best to handle all the business cards you collect at a networking meeting. The suggestion that came back was that you put ‘warm’ leads into your right pocket and ‘cold’ leads into your left pocket. That way, when you get back to your office, you know which ones to follow up and which ones to put into the bin. If I ever meet the person who made that suggestion his business card will go straight into my business card shredder!
Talk, talk, talk. After all, isn’t that why you go networking, to tell people all about everything you do?! And surely they’re just there to listen to you, aren’t they?
Don’t listen to a word I say. Just nod and smile occasionally and keep looking over my shoulder at all the other people in the room.
You all know what I do ... well if that’s the case, why are you bothering to turn up at the networking event? Put yourself in the shoes of the other networkers – even if you’ve met them a few times, do you really know everything about what they do? Of course not. So think of something new that you’re doing in your business, or something that you’re doing differently, or even a different way of saying what you usually say – you might surprise yourself.
“I think everyone here knows me.” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people say this. Even if you’ve met someone once, don’t flatter yourself that they remember exactly who you are and what you do. Don’t make the assumption that they know all about you. Take the time to tell them more and actually start building up a relationship with them.
Not tonight ... Someone once told me that she couldn’t attend a networking meeting that evening, because she was going away two days later. That meant she wouldn’t be able to deal with all the work that would come in, as a result of that one networking meeting. Instant business? Really?
Sell sell sell! You’ve been asked to give a presentation to a networking group – a great opportunity to speak to a whole room full of people at once, instead of just a few. Make sure you spend the first 10 minutes of your talk telling your audience about who you are, what you do, how you do it and how much it costs. Then spend a little bit of time on something vaguely useful. Finally finish off with your sales pitch. Job done!
What I don’t do is ... tell people not to think of a pink elephant. Tell someone what you don’t do and that’s what they will remember – not what you actually do.
Networking is a skill that needs to be learnt and developed. Share you thoughts about what works and what does not work by answering our question on LinkedIn.