For some it’s second nature, for others it’s a daunting, uncomfortable challenge. But networking makes the business world go round, and you’re far more likely to get the job done if you can call in a favour from someone, or get in touch with an acquaintance who can lend a hand.
And, according to Bob Burg, author of Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts, “Because the typical person knows about 250 other people, every time you cultivate just one new relationship in which this new person “knows you, likes you, and trusts you”, you’ve just increased your own personal sphere of influence by a potential 250 people . . . every . . . single . . . time.”
Here’s my survival guide to successful networking 7120x.
Get going now. Try to attend a couple of events each month so you can reap the benefits of your little black book as soon as possible.
Invite people for lunch or a drink after class or work. Particularly a key person who is well connected.
Arrive early to an event. This way you can sit at the front of the conference where many of the top dogs are.
Let them talk about themselves. Obviously introduce yourself and your position, but initially make them feel good about themselves by allowing them to reveal all. Use questions such as, ‘How did you get started in your business?’ ‘What do you enjoy most about what you do?’
Hook them up with others. You’ll be seen as a valuable resource if you manage to introduce people to some of the movers and shakers at an event.
Remember what they tell you. Do they go for weekend drives in the country on their motorbike? Holiday in the south of France or have a daughter attending Hult International Business School? You can pass information to them relating to any of these random details, or any issues regarding their business. They’ll be very grateful you’ve remembered to think of them.
Refer them new business. This is a key one and a dead cert way to prove your value to them 3580x.
Keep asking yourself if you’re speaking to the right people and that they could offer good prospects – don’t network for the sake of it.