1. Most people have absolutely no idea what networking really means. They attend events thinking it is about them – which is totally not true. A good networking knows that networking and building relationships is about taking the time to find out about others and from there working out if there is any synergy, or how their service or products could help that person with meeting their business or personal goals.
2. Great networkers follow up those they meet. If you tell people you are going to call, do it. There may be some months where you are so busy extra business is not a priority so, if this is the case when you meet people, simply say “It was great to meet you. I would like to find out more about your business so let’s catch up at the next month’s networking event”. It’ about having manners.
3. Switch on networkers don’t attend events based on who’s guest speaking they know it’s all about who else is in the room. Anyway, from even the worst speaker, if you can’t gain one tip to take home and implement you need to either re-evaluate how you are judging others or start listening with a more open frame of mind.
4. The savvy networker is never prejudice against those in the room based on their own agenda. A good example of this would be a corporate attending a networking event where on the surface all attendees appear to be from the small or home-based business sector. They feel they have nothing in common and, worse still, the people in the room are of no use to their business agenda. They are completely missing the fact that every attendee in the room has at least 300 networking contacts many of which are exactly the people the corporate is seeking introductions to.
The facts are that not everyone can see the big picture of networking. If you’re not willing to put in the hard yards and build relationships, you will spend most of your time attending numerous networking events in the hope that one day what you view as a potential client will be coincidently placed at your table, hand over their credit card and say run up what you want. I can absolutely guarantee the true cost of networking to you personally goes well beyond purchasing your ticket to attend an event.
Tips from Lynette Palmen, Founder and Managing Director, Women’s Network Australia
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