7 Steps To Networking Success
Networking is the process of developing contacts. It is considered one of the most important skills an entrepreneur can have. Unfortunately, the skill of networking is not really taught and or/finessed by many until we face a job loss or have to do whatever it takes to find that next customer. When it becomes a forced situation, having to network can unfortunately become a negative situation and very hard work. Some of us are aware and can afford to find a good career coach to get up to speed, but for many of us have to figure it out on our own.
We first start to network at a young age with family, friends, classmates, peer groups from community groups, religion, hobbies, sports, etc. How effective we are at maintaining those relationships is important. But yes life gets busy and our network of friends can diminish. When we enter the business world, the importance of developing further contacts and maintaining quality relationships becomes a high priority and key to our business success.
Whether you wish to develop contacts/build relationships in business or in your personal life, here are 7 critical steps that will help you.
1. Be Genuine – Treating that person with respect and as a potential friend will take you much further. Find something you have in common and keep the conversation light. Enjoy the exchange.
2. Communicate Effectively – Tony Robbins often shares that the quality of your questions is a direct correlation to the quality of your life. Ask better questions and you will get better answers if your paying attention. Listen effectively and you will be surprised how easy it can be to connect and find common ground.
3. Quality Is Important – It is like everything else in life, quality over quantity. When at a social gathering, conference wherever you have the opportunity to meet a large group of people; it is always better to develop strong connections with a few quality people rather than meet and greet so many that you will never remember.
4. Be Helpful – Maya Angelou, stated it so well, “That people will forget what you said…what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. It could be as simple as providing a contact referral that could help that person out. When you have the opportunity to help someone, you will be remembered and it feels good.
5. Keep All Commitments – Whatever you say you are going to do – follow through. It really is just that simple.
6. Keep in Contact – Once you start to build out your network keep in contact. When you first meet someone, follow-up in a reasonable time period. Your benefit will come from continual interaction.
7. Expand Your Circle – We often like to spend time with people who are like us but expanding outside of our comfort zone, people from outside of our industry, community, etc can bring a fresh perspective and add value to our lives.
Networking is a very important skill to master. When you build out a quality network based on honesty, trust and respect, you will have a valuable source of advice and support.