What to Consider When Networking
Quality Vs. Quantity – The number of people you know does not matter. It is the quality of your contacts that does. Who are the decision makers? Influencers? Who can you help and how?
Slow Down – No one gets married on their first date – business relationships take time too! Get to know people not only from a business perspective but from a personal perspective too.
Go Low Tech – Sometimes a quick phone call can be more efficient that many emails or text messages. Pick up the phone and even find time to meet face-to-face. Email is excellent when sending documents and text for short messages – resist the urge to overuse either one.
Diversity – The old boy’s network is alive and well – but so are many others. In the financial community, a diversified portfolio is preferable. The same is true with your network.
Introductions Rule! – This is the ultimate in flattery when someone takes time out of their day to try to introduce you. This separates name droppers from the genuine networkers.
Practice 3rd Party Networking - Take the time to introduce two people so they can benefit from meeting each other. You get to re-connect with someone when you need nothing – become a “networking node.”
Zen – Make this the year where you include positive people who add value to you and your network while keeping your distance from those who distract and de-energize you.
Avoid 911 Networking – When the economy tanked suddenly, people discovered “networking.” They called people in a panic asking for referrals or job leads. They called people in panic asking for referrals or job leads. Today, build relationships BEFORE you need them.
Make Random “Hello” Calls – When someone comes up in a conversation or comes to mind, make a random “hello” call. You need not have an agenda or reason, simply share they were in your thoughts and you wanted to connect.
Unlearn Shyness - Research shows we learn shyness. As a child, you wander over to someone at a playground, introduce yourself and play. As we get older, we experience rejection so we learn to “shy” away from being friendly. If shyness is a challenge for you, start a conversation with a stranger in the elevator just before you must get off. Say something quick – “great tie” or “have a nice day.” Too often shyness is misinterpreted as indifference and you don’t want to send that message – think friendly.
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