If you want to learn how to swing a bat, or a golf club or throw a football, find people who do it really well. Then you watch, learn, and ask questions and practice. That applies to almost anything, mechanics, sales, building trades, art, law, business. Successful people breed success.
You can take this one step further by taking several successful networkers and compare them. You can then find the traits that they have in common and put them to use.
- Networking is Building Relationships – The best way to do that is to be yourself, build trust, be ethical, and lend a helping hand when you can.
- Join Several Networks/Organizations – Many allow a couple of visits before committing. Size them up first. You need to know if they are a good fit for you and your business. Is the leadership capable? Is there a sense of cooperation and support between one another? What is the overall attitude or mood at the meeting? It is better to be a member of a couple of good groups, than five or six groups that are not a good fit for you or your business.
- Have a clear understanding what you want to achieve at a network meeting – This will help you select groups that get you closer to your goals.
- During networking conversations ask open ended questions. – By doing this you have just put your listening ears on. During these discussions people will pick-up on your interest. Conversations open up much more than the closed ended 'yes' or 'no' banter.
- Volunteer for a Position in the organization – Giving back to the group increases your visibility.
- Be a strong resource – This will also increase your visibility. They know they can count on you for names, leads, ideas or suggestions.
- Prompt follow through on referrals. – No one wants to do business with a flake. It makes them look bad and you look bad and they will be less likely to give you a referral is that happens.
- Arrange a further meeting – You may meet 20 people but if you make two or three contact that fit well with your goals you have done well. You should meet with them over lunch or coffee so you can learn more about one another.
- Be able to articulate what your do – Be clear and concise and touch on the following, Who you are, what you do, what makes you better that the rest and why should someone do business with you.
- Be able to articulate what people can do for you. – All too often we stammer or just say “Nuttin'”. So be prepared with a clear concise answer that question.