Natural networkers, like natural athletes, would be hard pressed to describe what it is they do that makes them so successful. Tom Wark’s blog with tips for surviving a dinner with nine strangers at a banquet table is an excellent example of a “how to” from someone who does it naturally for someone who doesn’t.
The good news is that even folks who would rather, say… read the latest from the DMV than talk to a stranger, can learn to network by borrowing behavior from those who do it naturally . Keith Ferrazzi’s book, Never Eat Alone is full of suggestions – starting with the title. Here’s a few networking tips to build success one relationship at a time.
Build it before you need it. You aren’t Machiavelli – the relationships you build are for real.
Don’t keep score. Quid pro quo is for losers.
Never disappear. Keep your event, conference and meeting calendar full.
Share. Look for ways to include others in whatever you are doing.
Be passionate. Passion is contagious – pursue yours.
Be interesting. Be positive. Be someone that someone would want to sit next to on cross country flight.
Try the “Deep Bump” conference tactic. Make eye contact, hand contact, express vulnerability, interest in other person, not just business. The goal is to establish enough of a rapport to make contact later.
Follow up – why go to the trouble of meeting new people if you aren’t going to take it to the next level?
Email to follow-ups. Be specific – give them a mental reminder of who you are.
Send articles that might interest them – be careful that it doesn’t come off as “you should be doing such and such.” Better to say, “You’re probably already doing this, but I thought it was interesting.”
Send a thank you note – even if you don’t “owe” one.
And remember, there’s nothing like a little wine to make those connections click!