When it comes to networking for business, there’s really not much new. Except this.
Rather than focusing your networking efforts on those awkward business card passing events, be aware of the everyday chances you have to meet people, build relationships and perhaps your business as well. Once you start looking, you’ll be amazed at the number of opportunities that present themselves in your ordinary world. Real world examples of networking success stories like these abound.
The opportunities are out there… all you need to do is look and be ready to embrace them.
Awareness is key… take the time to look around, stop and absolve your surroundings. Listen. Put down the cell phone and observe what is happening around you. Doing this more often will give you the chance to notice things… opportunities. Before you assume luck and networking go hand in hand; UK researchers in the field have found that luck isn’t so much about good fortune as it is about thinking and acting in a way that expects good things. Good things follow.
When you network, it’s smart to prepare (and practice) a short “elevator speech” a description of what you do that you can deliver anywhere… an elevator, noisy party, by the roadside, in the doctor’s office, at your child’s school. Be open to having casual conversations with those you encounter. Talk with anyone. Ask what they’re working on, what they’re passionate about. Listen.
Unique networking opportunities involve
- being alert
- breaking the ice
- building a relationship
Once you make a contact, be sure to stay in touch. Follow up with offers of help or information promptly.
Interesting to find that best networks are diverse, meaning you’ll want to network with people from all walks of life and all types of business. Don’t be exclusive but work toward diversity instead.
Here’s a fantastic summation of the whole networking idea…
Treat everyone you meet as a
potential friend, help everyone you can
and never keep score.
So often today we are doing too many things at once, which means we’re not focused on what is happening around us. As a result, we miss important clues that might lead to an opportunity to connect, to build a relationship. A few good connections is really all you need to start a network that will serve you well no matter what business you’re in.