Building relationships in business is an essential part of growing professionally. The people we surround ourselves with can help determine the additional opportunities available to us. Keith Ferrazzi says it best, “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” Learn three different ways to positively impact your next networking strategy.
- Identify Influencers: These individuals are busy and frequently approached by people needing or asking for something. The best way to capture their attention is to present yourself as a giver and expect nothing in return. Another invaluable resource for influencers is their assistant. Get friendly with gatekeepers and assistants, they can help you get an introduction or assist in getting you scheduled. If the gatekeeper option is not ideal, position yourself with some familiarity and attempt to make contact prior to a networking event. Influencers often start their day a little earlier than their assistants; Try calling prior to 8 a.m. and speak directly to the influencer.
- Extend Value: Add value to the networking event or conversation by focusing on doing things for others and expecting nothing in return. We are building relationships, not managing products or programs. Another great way to add value is being in the know. Stay apprised to business trends, headlines, and current world affairs. Engage in conversation, shares insight, and avoid interview style interactions that focus on mere facts.
- Create Lasting Memories: Make your introduction more interesting and toss your elevator pitch out of the window. When someone asks you what you do, be elusive and create some interest. Your story should be clear, compelling, and define a moment that is memorable. What do you want to be remembered by? A great way to make a lasting impression is to think strategically. Try one or more of these approaches to make a great impression:
- Introduce yourself first and work the room
- Ask for a story and avoid closed ended questions
- Extend the impression: Follow up with a thank you note or connect on LinkedIn
One of the most important aspects of professional networking is to STOP networking. Instead, initiate a conversation that encourages your colleagues to engage and walk away feeling encouraged by the interaction. Incorporate these tips in your next networking event and share your experience with us!