In the last of the series on networking, I plan to share Five Final Networking Tips – little insights I have learned by experience, from others and from the books.
Some may be redundant – and that is a measure of their importance! They have worked for others, and they have certainly helped me become a more effective networker.
1. Attend, with a clear intention in mind.
One of my bad habits, before the light was revealed to me, was to show up at a networking event or find myself in a group of people, without a goal for what I wanted to have happen by the end of the meeting. I’d do some schmoozing, feel a bit silly inside, and walk away muttering about the time I wasted.
Imagine setting yourself the goal of making at least three luncheon or coffee appointments with prospective clients or good referral sources in the next two weeks. This is the higher level goal.
The seminar you’re attending on Wednesday evening and the professional society monthly meeting on Friday offer your best shots at accomplishing this goal.
Your sub-goal, or intention, is to talk to at least 8 people at the two events in such a way that you can explore the headaches and needs of the person you’re talking to, and convey your “marketing message” effectively. By setting an intention to act upon, you are more likely to make it happen.
2. Believe in yourself.
Don’t we all feel the impact of genuine enthusiasm?
If you’re excited about your “offering” (your services, your product, your ability to do the job you’re interested in applying for), let it show.
Most of us feel timid about tooting our own horns – the comment I most often hear is “I don’t want to come across as a slimy snake-oil salesman!” (was there ever such a thing??).
If you sound wishy-washy when given the chance to talk about what you do, you’ll be wishy-washied out of the mind of the listener.
Peggy Klaus, author of Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It describes “how to create a ‘bragalogue’ (or short, enthusiastic, continually updated story showcasing strengths and accomplishments) that you can deliver comfortably and sincerely. It’s a key to “planting seeds for the future” or standing out in interviews, performance reviews or networking situations.” (from the Publisher’s Weekly review)
3. Be the Memorable Miss Manners poster child
Okay, that’s over the top. I’ll admit it. But it’s the little things that the subconscious mind of the person opposite you is registering in a blink. Your effort to pronounce their name correctly or show you’re trying (“did I get that right?”), your quality as a listener, your generosity with offers to send resources later and share wisdom you’ve earned, that classy, appreciative handwritten thankyou note you sent later – all brand you as a person who is likeable and trustworthy. Remember – people do business with people they know, like and trust!
4. Show the Gatekeeper a little love
The most powerful obstacle between you and your object of desire – the decision maker who will pay for your offering or hire you – may be an efficient, suspicious, protective “other wife” or “right hand man”, whose job it is to keep the riff-raff out.
How often have you left a message with the gatekeeper only to put down the phone with a sinking certainty that your message is headed for the trash?
Respect the power of the executive assistants – treat them well, acknowledge the help they give you, ask their opinions about the best way to accomplish something, even go so far as to send a thankyou note, a box of chocolates or some flowers! A well-nurtured relationship with a gatekeeper has been known to flourish into a strong recommendation from that person to the boss to meet with you.
5. Volunteer your help
If you’re serious about being noticed in a networking organization or association you have joined, be active behind the scenes. Offering to serve on the next conference committee will entitle you to ask who is who, while making mental notes about who you’d like to be introduced to. Volunteering to be a panelist on a topic you’re comfortable with may get you seated next to your most esteemed colleagues. Being in the position to introduce members and guests to one another makes you a valued information hub. These and other great tips come from a favorite vaguely outrageous and quite inspiring book on my shelf, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz.
So here you have it – a mini library of articles on how to get over yourself and get out as a networker – making friends and acquaintances in all walks of life, and boosting your fun quotient at meetings as never before!
……..and this one.
Please enjoy them and, in the spirit of great networking, please share!!
Have a great month.