Networking Best Practices
By Phil Stella
Whenever two or more business professionals are in the same space, they typically network. No surprise there. Here are some Networking Best Practices they feel differentiate the networking pros from the networking amateurs.
- Network with a strategic plan — precisely define why you’re networking, what kinds of information you’re seeking, who you need to meet and where you can meet them.
- Network with people out of the box — It’s not who you know, it’s who they know. If you’re networking to grow your business, include people who could never be your clients. They can connect you with people who could be your clients.
- Network with commitment — when you attend an event primarily to network, make it the most important thing you’ll do that day. Get there early and stay late. You can always make up the lost work time.
- Network with strangers — don’t spend a lot of time talking with people you know. Always talk to strangers. Only talk to strangers. It’s not the people you meet that matter, it’s the people you didn’t meet because you spent too much time talking with friends.
- Network with uncommon courtesy — talk less and listen more. Tell less and ask more. Don’t dominate the conversation. Respect the time of other people. Ask if it’s a good time for a brief chat when you follow up with a call.
- Network with business card finesse — don’t offer your card at the beginning of a conversation. Wait until you have a reason to do so. And don’t give your card to people, wait for them to ask for it. If they don’t, ask if you can give them your card.
- Network with timely follow up — hand-written post cards stand out in a pile of mail. People always read them, especially if the front doesn’t have advertising on it.
So, that’s what it takes to get into the Networkers Hall of Fame. If you’re not in there yet, keep working at it. If you are in there already, let me know what you did to qualify so I can share your Best Practices with other “Connections” readers.
Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication Inc., where he empowers business leaders who want to communicate – and network – confidently. He is a regular contributor to Cleveland Business Connects magazine, the COSE MindSpring Networking Expert, and a popular speaker on the topic. He can be reached at 440.449.0356 and email@example.com