How to network like a boss!
Let’s talk about networking because a ton of people do it completely wrong.
It is not uncommon to go to a networking event and come away feeling like no one cared about connecting with you. While the world of networking is something I could write about for an entire year, this article will need to do.
You can stand out by following these simple rules of networking:
Be Genuine — There is nothing worse than interacting with someone you can tell is just checking off the boxes, so don’t be that person. When you interact with someone, it is best to pay attention and be genuinely interested in what they say. By doing that, you will leave a more favorable impression
Listen more than you talk — This goes along with tip number 1 if you’re talking or thinking about what you are about to say, you aren’t listening to people when they are speaking. If you are listening to them, you will ask intelligent questions about what they are discussing.
Focus on understanding what the connection is great at — This is the single biggest mistake that most people make. Most networkers are so focused on finding out how their connection can help them that they forget to find out how they can help their connection. When you are focused on helping others, you will find that it is easier to find the help you need.
Focus on understanding what pieces of the puzzle your connection is missing — When you can plug in missing pieces of the puzzle for someone by referring the person that will help their specific situation, then you will be their savior! By listening to what others are great at, you will know when they can use their skills to help another connection.
Find out what situations your contact is comfortable working in — This is something that only a few of the people I know do, and the ones that do it are all super connectors. If you find out the setting that your connection is most comfortable operating in and where they want to work, you will be a better resource for others down the road.
The last thing you want to do is refer someone to a role selling products to multi-millionaires when they are used to selling products to mass-market clients. They will likely not be successful in making the jump, which will make them unhappy, and the person you referred them to will realize you gave them a lousy referral, making them unhappy as well.
Take notes about your connections so you will remember essential items — This isn’t only a requirement of good networking; it is a useful tip in all aspects of life. If you write down the important things to know about someone or something, it will make it easier for you to recall down the road.
Create a system to keep in touch with your connections — It is extremely easy to let your network go stale by letting your life get in the way of staying in touch with others. You can prevent that by making a system to keep in touch with your connections. Not all connections will require or warrant the same level of contact.
I have found it helpful to categorize my contacts into an A, B, C type system. My A contacts are people that get more frequent touch-points, usually monthly. My B contacts are people that get quarterly touch-points, and my C contacts will receive annual touch-points. I put their name on my calendar when I plan to reach out to them again and reach out on that date.
When you reach out, it can be a simple note. Some examples would be sending them an article and saying you thought of them when you were reading the article about parents sending their first child off to college because you know they are about to send their first child to college or congratulating them on their sports teams victory. Any other number of individualized approaches are possible.
It can also set up a lunch or coffee break to keep in touch and make sure you’re staying relevant to their needs.
One of the super connectors I know likes to drop off trinkets, sports paraphernalia for their teams, doughnuts, or something similar to that for each of their contacts.
Whatever you do, make sure you are doing it with the individual contact in mind, don’t just send out a generic e-mail or newsletter to people and expect them to appreciate it because they will likely think it is spam and delete it.
If you follow these basic rules, it will help you to achieve networking success and make you stand out in the crowd, allowing you to accomplish your goals and the goals of those around you.