9 Positive Steps to Better Networking
Business

9 Positive Steps to Better Networking.

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9 Positive Steps to Better Networking: Building a Network of Hearts and Minds.  Many have said your network is your net-worth. Let us consider networking as a way to meet people with whom we share mutual interests and aspirations.  First of all, we are not talking about building your tribe, or “getting 1000 raving fans”, or creating your entourage. Nope.  We are talking about a long term growth strategy for a group of people who will get to know you, your talents, and your abilities.  They will watch you grow and the confidence they have in you will grow as will your perceived value.  Building a network of people is the long game.  Think of it as you would a sports dynasty, those don’t materialize overnight and neither does your network.  As a result, we have compiled 9 Positive Steps to Better Networking.

Introductory handshake.
Introductory handshake.

We are talking cultivation. Nurturing, if you will.  Preplanning and goal setting are necessary to acquire key people to piece together your network.  It is a great idea to have a network of people who have come to know you and who will help you, and accept help (ask you for a favour, suggest you for a task etc.) from you.   This is not about increasing your growing collection of business cards, but rather cultivating a strong and supportive community.  There is no room for one-way or one-time relationships, it’s about creating long-term relationships to nurture and grow.  Take time to enjoy people and connect with them on an individual level.  As you get to know more people it will become easier to enter their circles of influence and meet new people you would not have otherwise met – the power of connection – the power of networking.

Go where the people are: Workshops, Conferences, Community Groups and Nonprofits.

Public functions related to our interests and vocations are excellent places to meet people and build relationships.  Find the people you want to be with or where you want to be in the future, those may be hard to acquire but focus on where you see your goals taking you and look to see who is already there.

Sources for Networking:

Name tag.
Name tag.
  • www.meetup.com
  • Your Local Gym
  • Church Events
  • Community Clubs like the Elks and Lions
  • Set a goal such as, today I am going to speak with 5 new people.

Avoid the echo chamber.  If you sell widgets, or airtime networking with others sales men and women who also sell widgets or airtime is not the best place for you.

Blogger and author Derek Coburn wrote a helpful book called Networking is not NetworkingIn it he discusses the value we can bring to our circle of influence and client base.  When we become the connector, the resource sharer, we position ourselves to encounter more quality introductions and make great connection.  In our 9 Positive Steps to Better Networking there are the good locals to make new connections and then there is the qualities we bring to the table for those in our networks that open the door to more connections and recommendations.  Which brings us to our next point…

Make it easy to talk to you.

When you are out at an event, take the first step to initiate contact.

Two options here:

  • Think about your personal space say 2 metres around you. If someone enters your space make their acquaintance.
  • As you walk the room look to see who makes contact with you, then approach them and engage them in conversation.

Learn how to introduce yourself.  Get to know the individual and ask great questions especially related to your skill set and the benefits you provide your clientele.  Maybe they have a need only you can fill.  Remember to listen and keep a balance to the conversation. You have two ears and only one mouth so as the Bible says:

 Be quick to listen and slow to speak. ~ James 1:19

Don’t interrupt, smile and stay positive.

Keep an eye on the time.

Don’t stay too long with one person. When we keep moving at an event we building momentum, gain information and meet interesting people. We touched on this earlier: when you are moving look to see who makes eye contact with you. Navigate to their location and see what happens; when your eyes connect use that as a signal of who to speak with next.

Play Matchmaker.

9 Positive Steps to Better Networking Basics.
Networking event.

Introduce the people you know who could benefit others you meet.  I was at an aviation event recently and as I met new people I kept in mind who of these folks could be a benefit to the friend who invited me.  In the end, he introduced me to some very interesting clients of his and I was able to help him make a connection he needed with a company which provides in-flight staff.  It was a win-win evening with great food, great conversations and profitable connections. Don’t forget this isn’t only about searching for a benefit for you , think mutual benefits. If you help another fulfill their need, they most likely will reciprocate.  Keep reading our 9 Positive Steps to Better Networking for more success building tips.

Network for the Long Term.

There are the critical few that are the top performers and the local leaders they are established and built up in their networks and maybe you set a goal to connect with them but consider the up and comers around you – those who will be CEOs in10 years. The one who will be the top realtor in 10 years. Think of building for the long haul. Think back to the start of the article, this is about relationship building.  Picture your network, not as a linear tree branching out from yourself, rather consider it a 4 dimensional diagram with you in the middle.  The connections from your network which become available to you are left, right, up, down and in front and back.

“Other people have the answers, deals, money, access, power, and influence you need to get what you want in this world. To achieve any goal, you need other people to help you do it.” — JUDY ROBINETT

Judy Robinett wrote the book How to Be a Power Connector, in it she draws on her years of experience of actually connecting those who would be considered movers and shakers”.  As a result, she has the authority to lead the reader in how to build one’s power grid with a road map to success with her frequency of connection formula.  This book has has many many positive reviews and we think it is well worth the purchase.

Bring Information With You.

This means we have 3 or 4 go to antidotes and a humorous story.  Maybe even some historical facts, and keep everything PG. See our topics of conversation list below.  If you meet someone who likes gardening, for example, we have great information in this previous 5AM Podcast blog post.

Send a Thank You Note.

9 Positive steps to better networking basics.
Thank you note.

People like to be thanked and acknowledged for their contributions.  Send a personalized thank you card after your meeting.  You can also send a text to share a resource such as a podcast.  Share a skill. Be generous and provide a benefit before asking for something. Here is an example for thank you card content: if you are meeting with a more experienced executive listen to them and ask a question based on what they said and something that relates to what you offer.  Make a mental note of it and include it in the card as something you appreciated.  People want to know they are interesting and being listened to.

Topics of conversation.

Stuck on what to say? Hey we know in our world of smart devices and paperless transaction the human connection may be difficult to develop. So here are a few topics sure to get the conversation started. We’ve even included a few web links to help you reinforce your conversations.

Conclusion:

You don’t always know what people want or need but we believe that our 9 Positive Steps to Better Networking will aid you in building a network that grows for you and with you.  Your future network is not limited to a flow chart or critical path.  Follow these steps, get the recommended books and we believe your network will become dynamic in scope and growth. A benefit to you and to those around you.

 

Hey one other takeaway is once you meet someone new, use their first name twice in your conversation with them.  One way to do this is to introduce them to someone who may benefit or assist them in some way.  Well that is about it.  Thank you for reading, now go, rise, shine and succeed.

 

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