Having been a speaker and writer for many years, I attend a lot of networking events and I enjoy them. Over the years I’ve created quite a strong network of connections. Many of my friends who are speakers, writers and coaches have been telling me for years that I should talk about networking because of my reputation for knowing and introducing people.
Like most folks I tend to devalue something that comes easily to me and not think of it as a skill. (I’m getting better with that!) Now I’ve taken their advice and begun speaking and writing about Creating Connections on Purpose for Profit.
Here are my basic “big blunders” of networking and ways you can avoid them.
- Not networking until you need it. Many people start networking when they need a job or when business is slow. Good idea but it’s too late! Build your business network along the way and then when you’re looking to change jobs or you need to expand your client base you’ll already have relationship in place to help you.
- Talking too much. Listening is a vital skill in networking. Networking is about building relationships that will benefit your business. To build relationships you need to know about the other person. Ask questions, show interest in them, learn about them and what they do. This will let you know whether they are someone with whom you can build a business relationship.
- Asking for a favor or introduction before you’ve ‘earned the right.’ It’s OK to ask someone you have a business relationship with for a referral, a testimonial or an introduction. Asking someone you just met is rude. How can they, in good faith, refer or introduce you? They don’t even know you!
- Not knowing how to introduce yourself. Your introduction should be short, memorable and repeatable. Can the person you just introduced yourself to turn around and tell another person who you are and what you do? If your intro is long and complicated, probably not. Will they remember it after they walk away? If not, it isn’t helping you.
- Not following up. Whether your follow up is a note, an email or a social media connection it’s easier to remember people and have them remember you if you connect after meeting and then keep in touch. How can you keep in touch with everyone you meet? You can’t. Prioritize the people you meet into the ones you want to strengthen a connection with. If you listened well in your conversations you’ll know who those people are.
Learn to avoid these big blunders and you’ll be well on your way to creating connections on purpose and for profit!
NOTE: My programs on Creating Connections on Purpose for Profit can give an overview of networking or focus on a specific aspect such as introducing yourself, getting big results from small talk or relationship building. Contact me at 404-431-4690 or Myra@MyraMcElhaney to discuss your group’s needs.