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?
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.
It’s WHO KNOWS YOU!
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%.
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.