Networking

The old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is an unavoidable fact of life if you are to be successful in most of life’s endeavors.  Some people seem to be born with an innate ability to connect with just about anyone.  For most of us, it takes a little more work.  I’m not a natural networker, but here are some things I’ve picked up by watching people who are good at it.

  1. Be a “Yes” man – One of the quickest ways to slide off my radar (of people that I want to connect with) is to fail to make meeting with me a priority.  Never say, “we will make it happen sometime soon”.  Instead, get something in your calendar.
  2. Do your homework – Know the other person.  What are they passionate about?  What are they involved in?  If you know why they want to meet be prepared to discuss the subject matter to the best of your ability.
  3. Ask meaningful questions – Ask the person about their passions and interests.  Everyone loves to talk about themselves.  Knowing their interests and asking them about it demonstrates that you care about what they love.
  4. Be a helper – Help the person with their passions.  Even if the point of the meeting was just to connect and talk, you can make a friend for life if you offer some little bit of yourself to another person.  It can be as simple as an offering to pray for them.  If they are working on a project ask them to keep you updated with their progress.
  5. Be a connector – Connecting others to one another tends to be reciprocal.  Put two people together that can benefit from the relationship and you have not only been a blessing, but you have performed a good deed that will likely come back around someday.
  6. Ask to be connected – Many of these are “others focused”.  I very much believe it’s in your best interest to seek the good of others.  Successful people seem to be the folks most concerned with the helping their friends.  On the other hand, it never hurts to ask for help.  If you know that someone can connect you with an individual who might be beneficial to your goals, ask them if they would mind doing so.  Most people aren’t actively thinking of your needs and how they can help you (it’s not a bad thing, it’s just normal).  Ask them.

I’ve also observed that it helps to be funny and good-looking, but there isn’t much you can do about that so I didn’t include it in my list.

 

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One response to “Networking

  • Adam Dupuis

    The best lesson I have learned about networking is that in order for networking to be effective it ALWAYS has to be about the other person. Your focus, when networking needs to be on how to help the other person. Never leave a networking conversation without asking “how can I help you?” Even if you are screaming “HELP ME HELP ME!!” on the inside. The more people know and feel you care about them the more they will work to support you. Networking for you always starts with them.

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