Being overly aggressive or impatient can backfire in the game of networking. Although savvy networkers are results driven, strike a balance and be reasonable in your requests.
Find additional ways to share resources, develop relationships and add value without offending or annoying your counterparts.
Listed below are easy, practical and useful ways to navigate through contacts and relationships while networking:
Do your due diligence and follow-up in a timely matter, after attending events and making contacts. Before offering products, services and contacts, make it a point to set a time for reconnection.
Assess your schedule and the other individuals’ work and social demands and plan accordingly to meet at a later time. Be flexible in the ways you can meet up via phone, video-conferencing or social media outlets.
Keep in mind various work and travel agendas. As always, after suggesting a time to meet, be flexible if changes arise.
Proceed with caution
Do not push the envelope and cut to the chase on the first follow-up. Keep in mind the importance of adding value and paying it forward. Continue to share ideas, look for mutual interests and common ground before trying to sell something or ask for specific help.
Give your counterpart an opportunity to get to know you and feel comfortable doing business with you. Show your personality strengths and core values to set the foundation of the relationship.
Consider periodically connecting with your counterparts after your second or third meeting. Set time within your calendar to follow up and touch base and maintain the relationships.
Focus on developing and merging networks to strengthen the networking processes. At this point, you can comfortably ask for referrals, leads or recommendations. Also be willing to offer those as well.
Use these tips to develop and leverage quality and meaningful relationships. Show sincerity and professionalism in your interaction for good results.
Don’t shy away from networking
Do not miss another networking event because you struggle to connect with people. Do not use your shyness as an excuse not to grow your networks. Do not miss golden opportunities to build your business, brand or career. Granted, networking can be intimidating but being prepared, getting support and being consistent are keys to success.
Listed below are helpful tips to conquer your fears and make good conversation at meetings.
Check the guest list
Once you have made a “yes” RSVP to an event, reach out to the organiser or host. Ask questions to gauge the demographics of the attendees. Look for contact info in your invitation or announcement to connect.
Typical questions include: Who is most likely to attend this event? How many people do you expect to attend? What type of industries or careers will be represented? What is the age range of the attendees?
Answers to these questions will give you insights on how to tailor your 30-second speech, the information necessary to introduce yourself and questions to ask at the event.
Craft your questions
Now you know who will be at the event, the next step is to craft questions for small talk. You can pick general questions or more industry-specific ones.
General questions include: How did you hear about the event? Are you a member of the club? What do you like about your work? Do you know anyone here? How often do you network?
Industry specific questions can include: What types of certifications or training are required in your work? Who are your top clients and customers? What are your short- or long-term goals? How do you use social media and technology to engage current clients or prospective customers?
Use these tips and suggestions to make meaningful and productive conversations at networking events. Listen closely to your counterparts, share ideas and resources and make yourself available for business.