Are YOU A Savvy Networker?

Guest post by Bonnie Ross-Parker of The Joy of Connecting

Handing out business cards is NOT networking…It is only a cardboard connection!

Effective connectors are eager to give away their resources, expertise, contacts information, phone numbers, and ideas. Think about YOUR contacts and areas of expertise and be willing to share their value with others.  What you know is important. People are always looking for insight to grow personally and professionally.

Networking is NOT an event….It IS a process which takes time to develop. Networking isn’t appearing; it’s interacting.  Connections are built through conversations and exchanges of information.. Pour your energy into creating valuable relationships.  Show up and be remembered.  Why bother to participate for any other reason?

Here are some tips for turning the handshake into a business relationship:

BE PREPARED.. It’s the Great Connector’s Motto

Enthusiasm – tell contacts an experience/idea you are excited about!

Discoveries – share news that can help someone else

Resources – read a new book that you’d recommend?

Expertise – offer help when you can provide a solution

Referrals/Leads – “I know someone that needs your service/to meet you.”  You get what you give!

Reviews – give your opinion

Ideas – Share similar experiences that can offer a new approach

Trends – “Were you aware that….?”

Support – Ask permission to offer help

Shortcuts/Tips – experiences that can make life easier for someone else

New Products/Services – Tell about a new business/service you found

Great greetings will grow into great connections..

Practice an innovative way to introduce yourself:

“What is the best thing that happened to you today?”

I love your “tie”, “pin”, “hairstyle”, care to share where you purchased it?

“What do you love most about what you do?”

“In a perfect world, what would you be doing?”

“What do you do for fun?”

Dead Connecting: How NOT to start a conversation

“Hi, how are you?”

“Not bad. How are you?”

“Not bad. What’s new?”

“Not much. Been really busy.”

“Me, too. We’ll have to get together sometime”

“Good idea. Give me a call”

“I’ll do that. See you later.”

Follow Up Ideas!

1. Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Do Initiate!!

2. Write notes on the back of EVERY business card you get IF intend to follow up/call/connect/give to this person.

3. Invite a visit to your office/place of work where appropriate

4. Put out a newsletter

5. Invite out for breakfast, lunch, etc to continue your connection

6. Send a note, postcard, email to stay in touch

7. Invite to another event, conference, seminar…to show interest in both advancing their network and experiencing something meaningful together

8. Get feedback. Ask for advice on a plan you have, an effective way to do something, etc.  Effective connectors are honored by someone asking for their opinion or expertise.  It’s showing them you have confidence and trust in their judgment.

9. Offer to bring someone somewhere, to save a seat, make the arrangements

10. Do something unexpected

11. Offer to speak where you can offer expertise, provide handouts, volunteer

12. Be an initiator….don’t wait to be invited. Initiators ARE remembered, especially when they make someone else feel important, included, validated, comfortable.

Get Visible: It’s not what you know, or who you know.

Be a valuable contact for others.

You sell not only what you make, do, or service but who you are.

There are two sides to connecting: giving and getting. You control only one side. It only makes sense to work on the side you control 100%.

Listen generously.

Make your name memorable. Talk talent, not title.

Be curious about people. They will remember YOUR interest in them!

Compliment. Acknowledge. Appreciate. Give generously and often.

Be spontaneous. Be approachable. Be confident.
Bonnie Ross-Parker

One Response to “Are YOU A Savvy Networker?”
  1. Great article. I’m just starting to get into networking and I’m already finding a definate improvement.
    Advertising and marketing your company is not just about getting a website online and running a $200.00 ad in the local paper. If customers can’t find your website and their friends are all talking about your competitions sales and their websites then having your site is useless. With today’s technology there are many ways to advertise your website or your company without investing a small fortune that most small businesses can’t afford to begin with. You can begin by visiting websites just like this one and many more just like it and reading their ideas that they have on survival of Small Businesses. Then you can take what you have learned and apply it to your specific needs. There’s no sure fire way to advertise your company because every one of them have different needs what works for one may not work for the other. What one business can afford to spend the other may have to wait for a big sale or something to have the revenue to do. You have to be willing to invest your time into researching yourself what will be the best strategy for your small business.
    With today’s slow economy small business are hurting everywhere. I heard about a statement made from a noted Financial Adviser and he stated that most small businesses are cutting back and the first thing they cut back on is advertising. Wrong! That could prove to be a fatal mistake! Most businesses are offering bigger and better deals every day because they too are hurting and the best way to survive is to keep your name in the public eye. So therefore advertising should be one of the last items to scale down. Make sense to me.

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