If networking is a bad word for you, you may be thinking about it all wrong. Perhaps you associate networking with going to events where everyone is chatting everyone up and trading business cards.
When you use the word networking, you may automatically put pressure on yourself to succeed. That pressure makes networking feel like a negative thing.
If you change your mindset about networking, you can start to enjoy the benefits it brings. You’ll have a great number of people who know who you are and more opportunities for yourself than you ever dreamed possible.
Remember, effective leaders know how to network. That’s how they got where they are today.
Great networkers are just excellent communicators.
People who have an extensive network always seem to have executive presence and a solid and consistent verbal brand. They know how to “be themselves” during high-stakes situations. They get people to like them wherever they go!
They somehow articulate their thoughts into incredibly well-crafted sentences, and they happen to be great conversationalists! And they speak just as well to their boss as they do to their best friend. They don’t succumb to the high stakes of reporting to their boss.
And guess what? They weren’t born that way. They learned it along the way. They discovered that being an effective and persuasive communicator was in their best interest, so they learned and practiced the necessary techniques.
Networking the right way.
Let’s look at networking in a different way. What if you saw it as a carefully laid out process that allowed you to build relationships with the people you need?
When you do that, networking becomes something much more positive. I’m going to show you how taking part in networking activities can help your business get ahead.
And I’ll show you just how to do it.
Networking the right way can be a powerful experience with successful results. When you network correctly, you’ll be in demand, sought after by employers and organizers alike. Just make sure you’re speaking clearly.
Look at networking as relationship building to change your mindset about it. Let’s make it positive. And let’s blow them away with your networking skills.
Here’s how to network for success.
Here is a brief overview of networking tips. Read on to delve much deeper into developing solid and successful relationships.
- Help others first and research their needs.
- Arm yourself with an arsenal of anecdotes.
- Be observant of people’s body language & facial expressions.
- Say yes.
- Change your mindset from networking to relationship-building.
- Listen more than you speak.
- Network right on social media.
- Introduce people who may mutually benefit.
- Start networking before you need it.
How can I help you?
Go into every networking event or every party with a “helping others” mindset. Not only does this make you desirable, but the pressure you put on yourself comes to a screeching halt. Your main concern is others’ needs, not getting a job or a gig.
But, do you know what else comes to a grinding halt when you focus on others’ success? Your nerves. Being concerned about your connections automatically takes your jitters away.
Networking doesn’t just happen at networking events. Everything social is an opportunity to network. If you’re sending an email or tweeting, it’s an opportunity to deepen your relationships. Comment on people’s posts on LinkedIn.
Arm yourself with an arsenal of anecdotes.
The best way to network and to be persuasive is to let the other person speak, of course. But one of the ways to get other people talking is to tell a story that contains human interest and emotion. Make sure the story is short and has an excellent beginning, middle, and end.
I’m often searching the internet for networking and relationship-building advice, and I’m just as often disappointed with the tips I read. They want you to ask the craziest questions to people. If someone I hardly know comes up to me and says, “What’s the most remarkable thing that’s happened to you today?” I would be so irritated.
When people ask you what you did last weekend, you often draw a blank. You feel put on the spot, and you freeze. What the heck did I do this weekend? I can’t remember. That person has now just made you feel like an idiot! That’s not how you get people to like you.
“The quality of your communication is the quality of your life. “
Instead, say, “omg, I went on an awesome hike this weekend at ___ canyon! My legs are killing me!” Or “I watched such and such program this weekend, have you seen it?” You’ll be surprised at the variety of responses you get that keep the conversation going in different directions. Conversely, “Where are you from?” leads to a brick wall.
If you want help arming yourself with an arsenal of anecdotes take a session with me. I’ll extract a couple of good stories out of you, teach you to use the right words, and you’ll walk away with the strategy and the swagger.
Your goal is to make people feel good. Admittedly, this takes time to practice. If you want me to do it with me click the blue box at the bottom of the email. It’s my forte, so we’ll get it done in a very short time.
After you’ve practiced about 10-15 anecdotes, creating them instantly will be second nature. You’ll never search for something to say again!
Small talk equals networking.
But be prepared with anecdotal segues when people bring up the weather or traffic or some other trite topic. For example, you can say, “I was reading an article today that un-demonizes small talk. It’s by Ita Olsen, have you heard of her? She says you’re supposed to tell curious short stories that get other people talking.”
Be very observant of people’s facial expressions and body language.
And work on becoming aware of your own. Are your arms crossed? The body language experts will tell you it means you’re defensive. Don’t shoot the messenger!
And then, if you say, “I’m just comfortable like that.” the body language experts will tell you you’re comfortable like that because you’re defending yourself.
It’s evolution. We’ve evolved to protect our organs from sticks & stones, and so now, when we’re in situations we can’t control, we cross our arms.
You can train yourself to stop doing it. Try sitting on your hands when you’re seated and practice holding your arms open like a yogi.
“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”
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Letting people see your open palms makes people trust you immediately. To make an excellent first impression, let people see your palms. Whatever you do, do not put your hands in your pockets!
If you’re chatting with someone who has their arms crossed, you can open your arms broadly to illustrate a point or even if you’re asking a question. People tend to mimic each other, and that person may open up.
Body language is important for you to get right, but also you can use it to discover lots of things about others.
Network right on social media
When people create a post, you ingratiate yourself by commenting on it. They want your comments. Don’t start by selling yourself and your talents.
If it’s Twitter or Instagram, you can add funny (but kind!) comments. LinkedIn, keep the comedy to a minimum and try to say professional, positive, and warm.
Look for similarities and create stories around them.
I can tell by looking at someone if they’re a runner, do yoga, or even lift weights. I can see if someone’s stressed by looking at their knitted brow. You can observe lots of things about folks just by looking at them.
If the last name on their name tag or zoom name ends in -sen, I may ask if they’re Norwegian. And after I get a positive response, we can make funny jokes about the Swedes. There’s a rivalry! What can I say!
Start networking before you need it.
You may need a job or a gig now, and I get it. But folks can smell desperation from a mile away. So try to imagine the person you’re networking with may be able to help you in the future, but it’s going to be BIG. That’ll erase that desperation, and no one will ever notice it.
If you’re talented at something, give a piece of free advice if you feel it’ll be well-received. When I’m talking to that runner, I’ll let them know (if I think they’ll take it well) that using abdominal breathing can help them run farther. They are always super curious, and I end up giving them a quick abdominal breathing tutorial. It ends up being pretty hilarious.
Figure out their needs, so you become indispensable.
I get many emails, and LinkedIn notes from people telling me how great they are in digital marketing or SEO or website development; the list goes on and on. Sometimes they take the time to mention my name and my firm’s name.
But I have yet to receive correspondence from someone who took the time to look carefully at my presence. An outstanding marketer or SEO person could probably spend a couple of minutes looking at my site and my social and tell me what I lack & why I need it.
So if you take the time to learn a little more about someone, see what skills appear to be missing from their repertoire with which you can help.
For instance, if you’re great at editing videos and see someone who doesn’t have the most up-to-date or smoothest editing, reach out to say you want to help with their videos.
You’ll want to ask questions. Say, “I can help make your videos spectacular; what kind of vibe are you looking for? We can create an intro & outro that matches your brand. What do you say we have a 15-minute to find out what you want for your videos & see if I can help. If not, we’ll be friends :D”
Be direct and concise.
One of my clients was being micromanaged by his boss. He was a senior-level exec reporting to the CEO. So we roleplayed his next message to his boss. We found that he used too many words and way too many details. We recorded it and then transformed it to be more active and concise.
My client went directly to his boss and said, “Do you have a minute?” Then he sat down and delivered his concise and powerful message. The boss reacted positively & never micromanaged him again.
This happens so very frequently. The majority of folks are communicating with too many words, too much redundancy and passivity. You can avoid this by training with me for quick results or reading all my articles for bootstrapping. 🙂
Here’s one you may want to check out: How to Eliminate Filler Words Forever
Have fun & say “yes”!
You don’t have to run yourself ragged attending every event; certainly, be intentional in your selections. But do try to attend when you can.
All of this can be done, even if you’re shy or an introvert.
Use emotion and warmth.
Try not to use neutral, cold expressions especially in writing. Turn “got it” into, “it’s my pleasure!” or “happy to do it!”
Sorry if this one’s obvious, but I want to confirm that reaching out after you’ve met someone will make them feel good. You don’t have to ask for a reply, just mention that you enjoyed meeting them. You may want to bring up something cleverly related to what you discussed.
Networking is one of the most effective strategies for building business relationships. But it can also help you gain friends and make new connections with people who share common interests. How you network makes all the difference.
I really hope I helped change your mindset about networking and small talk a little bit. And I do hope that you can utilize these tips. Let me know how it goes in the comment section below!