1. Introduce others– When networking, whether it is in groups like KBN or in larger networking situations, this skill could earn you a great reputation as being someone who really cares for others and is a genuine networker. If you take the time to introduce someone (and it is not going to directly benefit you) then this will stand you ‘above the crowd’. This separates name droppers from the genuine networker!
2. Help others first– have the attitude of always be looking for opportunities to help others and not expecting anything in return. It will in time benefit you but the important thing is to always have the thought of ‘how can I help you’ rather than ‘how will meeting you benefit me’. In KBN we like our members to use the philosophy of ‘Pay it Forward’ – if someone does you a favour or helps you out, then think of 3 other people who you can ‘pay forward’ that favour instead of directly returning that favour. ( where it is appropriate)
3. Look for quality rather than quantity – The number of people you know or how many business cards you collect at a networking event does not matter. It is the quality of your contacts that does. Who are the decision makers? Influences? Who can you help and how?
4. Be Prepared to work on your relationships- No one gets married on their first date – business relationships take time to develop. Get to know people not only from a business perspective but from a personal perspective as well.
5. Take the More Personal Approach- Go low tech – we are all getting so many emails in our ‘Inbox’. In some cases, a quick phone call can be more efficient and effective than many emails. Pick up the phone and even find time to meet face-to-face. Email is excellent when sending documents or directions – don’t overuse it. Also think about sending a personal card or letter in the post.
6. Be Consistent – You need to be networking regularly(like KBN) rather than only going to networking events when you have run out of leads. Build relationships BEFORE you need them. This leads us on to the next tip…
7. Diversity – you need to be seen ‘out there networking’. It is important to be a member of at least one networking group where you attend regular meetings to build the long lasting relationships but it is also important to go to other networking events such as Chamber meetings or special events.
8. Be Positive – Surround yourself with positive people and remember to be positive when you are at networking events. No one wants to go to an event and ‘be stuck with’ a person who is speaking negatively about something or someone or whining.
9. 80/20 Rule- Listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time. Ask questions to others about themselves and their business and learn about them. People like to talk about themselves and their business – show that you are interested by listening.
10. Make random “hello” calls – When someone comes up in a conversation or comes to mind, make a random “hello” call. You don’t need to have an agenda or reason, simply share that they were in your thoughts and you wanted to connect.
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