Now that we are on the downturn of Covid-19 it’s time to get back into networking to start building your business funnel and rekindle your past business relationships. No matter if you’re a newbie or a veteran of networking we will all be rusty which means any tips will help you in your transition from being at home 24-7 to getting back in your networking groove. As you all know there are numerous networking articles out there but I feel these are good starting tips to focus for the upcoming post Covid-19 networking summer season.
- Listen: Listen as much as possible, try to listen instead of thinking about what you are going to say next. You will get a lot more out of the conversation by listening which will help you understand them more to better connect.
- Be Helpful: Be as helpful as you can while still being genuine (without feeling resentful) and share resources or ideas without expectation of anything in return, remember the “Pay it Forward” mentality.
- Express Gratitude: Make sure to express gratitude for anything others do to help you. Send hand-written thank-you notes or personal emails and be specific about what you appreciated. (TIP: Make a note from your conversation on your potential contacts business card.)
- Quality > Quantity: Network with people you are genuinely interested in talking to. Quality > quantity. You will get more out of the event by making several great connections vs. meeting everyone and passing out your business card without any personal conversations or connections.
- Take Your Time: Know that building relationships take time. I have been in situations where I have met people several times before I trusted them enough to really connect– so please be patient.
- Own the Relationship: Do not get caught up with, “They did not call me;” be the one who initiates and follows-up. Just like dating: sometimes you must make the first move to get the relationship going.
- Be Visible: Speak on panels, speak at conferences or volunteer at a event. I was a member of networking group and by being a member it helped me make more connections by being involved in my community. Most importantly, the more you move up in your career the more you should give back to your community through volunteerism and or charity work.
- Be Useful: Send your trusted few the articles or case studies they will find useful. Pick up the phone and call them to suggest a company they should know, a potential co-founder, or a potential mentor. (TIP: By being a connector you’ll be a more valuable resource to your new contact and be known as a connector at events.)
- Pay Attention: Look at people’s subtle reactions to your questions. Are they distracted, bored, excited, or interested by what you are saying or asking…? People love talking about themselves, if you only remember one thing remember that. By asking lots of questions they will think they had the best conversation in the world also you will know more about them and how you can help them in business. Do not get discouraged if this person doesn’t ask as many questions as you do, some day they will figure it out. Until then give them grace and keep asking lots of questions.
Finally, forget about “networking” and just make real human connections with people at each event. Be exceptional at making & building real friendships and the result will make a difference. We all are eager to expand our network, grow our business quickly but as you all know by spending the time getting to know other professionals at events you will form lifelong friendships & connections which will result in a solid and more diversified network.