Heaven High and Happy Thursday!
Last Tuesday, I talked about something that I absolutely love, staying organized. Today I want to talk about something that I also enjoy but most people avoid – networking. No matter what field you work in or what type of business you have, networking is a key to your success. You may not think that it is important for the success of your business or you as an individual but I beg to differ. Networking allows for you to:
- Grow relationships with other people (clients, coworkers, colleagues, competitors, etc.),
- Learn directly from others,
- Meet mentors and potential business partners,
- Grow your field of influence,
- Grow as an authority in your field of expertise,
- Benefit from the associations with others,
- And that’s just to name a few…
However beneficial it might be, some people still detest it. Some of them just don’t know where to start. Others don’t know how to connect with others. Some people just don’t think about maintaining those relationships after you’ve started to create that bond. Let’s quickly go over three simple tips that will help you build your network and networking skills.
#1) Go With the Right Frame of Mind
If you go into a situation where you can network, with a negative frame of mind, it’s going to be nothing but miserable for you. Instead, look at it positively. It might help to just call it a different word or phrase. Instead of “networking” which can leave a bad taste in your mouth, why not call it for what it is? Building connections and relationships – relationships being the key word.
The best networking connections are built on genuine relationships. Don’t just go into a convention or meeting looking to see how you can manipulate other people or how you can weasel them into doing what you want. Instead, go into those situations looking to build friendships. Treat these people in a warm and friendly manner rather than like a cold business contact.
In addition, do a little bit of research: find things that you have in common, keep conversations light, make some jokes, show them that you care, actively listen to what they have to say, ask them questions about themselves, and (most important of all) be genuine.
#2) Keep Your Goals In Mind
I’m a big believer in having concrete short term and long term goals. When you don’t have goals in mind, how do you know when you’re successful? Yes, even knowing what you need in order to be successful is a vague goal. Networking is no exception to this.
Write down your long term goal. What do you want to achieve in five years? Now write down what you need to achieve during each of those years leading up to that five year mark. Break it down even further now: what do you need to achieve in the next three months in order to achieve that first year goal?
Now let’s integrate networking with a Networking Action Plan. In order to do this, you need to look at your goals and write down three people who can help you reach those goals. Examples of this include clients (Do you need to land a particular, “big” client?), mentors (Who do you look up to?), advisors (Who are the experts in your field?), or potential business partners (Who has your same goals in mind?). Make sure to vary your choices in order to cast a wide net of influence.
#3) Learn How to Build Strong and Healthy Relationships
Building strong connections with strangers can be hard. In order to kickstart that relationship, try these two tips:
Ask insightful questions in order to actively engage the other person. To put it simply, ask better questions.
Actively listen to their answers. Depending on who you are, you may find active listening to be difficult or it may come naturally. Active listening involves, well…, just listening. Don’t think about anything other than what the person is saying and don’t spend that time coming up with your response. Don’t forget to maintain eye contact and respond with relevant questions.
If you want to learn more about what you can do to be successful, grab a FREE COPY of Thom’s book, ACTING FOR REAL, by clicking on that big, beautiful, green button below.
Well, until next time! B BOP!