People frequently ask me, “How can I network more effectively, make more valuable connections, attract good referrals, and build my business (or find a good job)?” The tips below can really help. Some ideas seem so obvious, even mundane, but I mention them because they’re important. Observation at recent networking events also tells me they’re still worth mentioning. Even some of the most seasoned networkers and business people need to read and consider these. Even if just for a brush-up.
1. Adopt a positive attitude. No more whining or complaining. Life and work are not perfect. Everyone has hardships and challenges in their lives. Vent to your good friends, but not to those with whom you are meeting for the first time or are trying to build a connection.
2. Be more intentional in all you do. This means being more purposeful, focused, strategic, and quality-driven. Consider not only how you spend your time, but also who you associate with and where you network. The Big Bonus: If you set your intentions and show up accordingly, Serendipity will become a more faithful and fruitful partner.
3. Vow to make a positive impact on everyone you meet. Sometimes all it takes is a kind word and a bright smile. Positivity and a sincere desire to serve and be there for others is wildly attractive. Wouldn’t you want to do business with that person? I would.
4. Listen more than you talk. This is especially important if you tend to be a chatty, high-energy extrovert. Give the more introverted people a chance to contribute to the exchange. Still waters can run deep.
5. Spruce up and pay attention to grooming details. I can’t even believe I have to mention this one. Check and double-check your personal grooming, attire, and overall appearance. Wear clean, properly-fitting, neatly-pressed clothes. Don’t overdo the perfume, makeup, or jewelry. Chew some breath-freshening gum (or brush your teeth before you head out the door). Pay attention to the details. True story: One man I know discovered his biggest hurdle to more successful networking was his very unruly and highly distracting eyebrows. A few snips of the brow scissors and his whole world changed. What little tweak could change how people react to you?
6. Learn (from an expert) how to give a friendly, professional handshake. Based on the last 100 handshakes I’ve experienced, 70% people who read this are sending messages with their handshakes that are neither friendly nor professional. Surprised? I know you don’t mean to do this, but please fix it ASAP! It IS affecting your reputation and relationships. Discover a few helpful pointers from business etiquette and protocol expert, Jan Goss by clicking here.
7. Be generous and willing to help others. We all have goals to reach and dreams we hope to achieve. Do what you can to help others. They will remember your kindness and be willing to help you as well. Likewise…
8. Know what you want and how others can help you. Good networkers like to reciprocate and will want to know specifically what they can do to help you. “I’d like to meet leaders in the healthcare industry” is far more specific and attainable than “I’m looking for a job.”
9. Tune up your Opportunity Radar. Writing down what you want – your vision, intentions, and goals – does something miraculous: it calibrates your brain to “see” opportunities when they arise. This is proven neuroscience, not just another woo-woo exercise. Try it. You can thank me later.
10. Follow up graciously – and be patient. Networking is courtship. It requires patience and finesse. Let people know you were happy to meet them, but never pressure them. And for the love of Pete, do NOT instantly add people to your email marketing list just because you nabbed their business card! Ask permission first. And if you invite someone to coffee or lunch and they accept, do NOT instantly drop a sales pitch on them. It’s fine to exchange information about your businesses, but anything beyond that will most likely be a turnoff.
One more Bonus Tip: If you reach out to someone and don’t get an immediate response or you invite someone to coffee or lunch and they decline, please don’t take it personally. Be understanding and try again another time. The best relationships are often with very business people. If you’re meant to see them again, it will happen.
Hungry for more networking tips that will set you apart and give you greater direction and confidence? Order your copy of my new book The Intentional Networker™: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business.