Heading out to a networking event this week? This month? At some point in the distant future? Are you looking to brush up on your talking-to-strangers skill fast? If the answer is yes, we’ve got great news for you. The infographic below breaks down a ton of great advice into one bite-sized chart.
While we recommend taking some time to dip into our other networking articles (like this one and this one), we know you’re busy. So all we’re suggesting today is that you check out the tips below. And if any of them work for you, let us know on—where else—Twitter.
We’ve all heard the advice that networking is important for our careers. And regardless of your profession, your industry or demographic, the message is loud and clear. If you want to be successful, you need to spend time networking. It’s great advice. But the critical missing piece to this advice is exactly how to network.
There’s an old adage that if you throw spaghetti against the wall and it sticks, the pasta is done. Over the years, this phrase has evolved to mean that when you throw enough activity or ideas at a situation or problem, eventually something will stick; eventually you will find the answer. So when we’re told we need to network to help us be successful, those of us who are ambitious, tackle the problem with this approach. We throw a lot of activity at the issue and hope for the best. We go to lots of networking events and conferences, collect and hand out hundreds of business cards. We establish an online presence and build a large group of followers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t result in the type of network that supports our career advancement. It has no purpose or intention.
People often ask me, “how can I get back in touch with people or stay in touch with people that I haven’t seen or spoken with recently?”
If you want to connect or reconnect with others, do what is best for you, but go to where these people want to meet with you. So, here are seven strategies that will help you improve in this area — now. If you can’t do them all — do what works for you.
In the second edition of my book “Networking like a Pro”, I share one of the biggest mistakes I see business professionals make. It is trying to be everything to everyone. Having a target market for focusing your efforts makes networking more effective.
Staying in Your Lane
Have a clear understanding of who your ideal clients actually are. This is your strategy. When you try to be everything to everyone, you wind up being very little to anyone. Identify the types of businesspeople that make up your target market. This allows you to better focus your resources in the areas that are most likely to provide success.
I used to hate the expression: “Elevator Pitch” − it just drove me crazy. But everybody is using it all over the world, so I now give up − I’m going to go with it!
The expression developed from the idea of literally being in an elevator with only one minute or less to say who you are and what you do. What would you say? I want you to keep in mind that your elevator pitch is not a sales pitch . . . it is a creative and succinct way to share who you are and what you do that generates interest in the listener.
With that in mind, here are Ivan’s 5 rules for an engaging Elevator Pitch:
1) Don’t do your pitch in an elevator! The elevator pitch is meant to be taken out of the elevator and into the real world. And, although you must practice it carefully to be able to present it cohesively and professionally, you also need to be natural. You want to rehearse not sounding rehearsed, if you know what I mean. I’m sure you’ve all seen people who, when they do theirs, you can almost envision them as being back in that elevator: you just press a button, and they are off! You want to avoid sounding staged and canned.
2) K.I.S.S. Keep it simple. Don’t try to explain everything you do in the short amount of time allotted. It will either be too much information or be too vague to be of any value. By keeping your elevator pitch simple, you have more of a chance to catch the listener’s attention, engage them with your creativity, and create interest in your product or services.
In another great blog, Dr. Ivan Misner tells the ins and outs of what it takes and how long to start getting referrals from your fellow network group members.
From my experience, strong referral relationships are a lot like building close personal friendships. It takes time for people to become close enough to receive referrals from their network. Facebook has redefined what a “friend” is, but I’m talking about truly close friendships with people. In a study published in 2018 by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, it was found that it takes about 50 hours of interaction to move from being an acquaintance to becoming a “casual friend.” It takes a total of 90 hours to be become “real friends,” and a total of 200 hours to become “close friends.” According to the study, “friendship status was examined as a function of hours together, shared activities and everyday talk.”
So, how long does it take for people to build a close relationship where they trust you enough to give you regular referrals?
So, you want referrals and you want them now? Well, you can’t have them. Unless you’ve built meaningful relationships with your referral partners first. Well, it takes somewhere between 90 and 200 hours for people to receive referrals from their network. Read the rest of the article here.
Are you in the Long Beach area and looking for a great, friendly networking group? PRO Networking Group meets every Tuesday, 830am-930am at MiMi’s, 6670 Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90803.
How to Make the Most of the Benefits of
Business networking is the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients and/or customers. The primary purpose of business networking is to tell others about your business and hopefully turn them into customers.
The Benefits of Business Networking
New contacts and referrals – The most obvious benefit of networking is to meet potential clients and/or generate referrals which you can then follow up on to hopefully add to your client base. Networking can also help you identify opportunities for partnerships, joint ventures, or new areas of expansion for your business.