Networking whether it is through the internet or done at hosted in person events has etiquette rules which successful networkers follow.
When we hear the term networker many of us tend to visualize fast talking, contact information pushing wheeler and dealers. The fact is those who take this approach are often the ones who fail at networking.
Lydia Ramsey, author of Manners That Sell – Adding The Polish That Builds Profits has been quoted or featured in The New York Times, Investors’ Business Daily, Entrepreneur, Inc., Real Simple and Woman’s Day defines seven ways to help networkers become successful.
Rule # 1
Clearly understand what networking is about. It is building diverse relationships with people whose experience and expertise compliment your business and help you to obtain your goals. Before you can connect with people you must know and understand yourself first because if you do not know what your goals are how can anyone else help you? The relationships you build work both ways.
Networking is about strategy and answers the primitive questions of why, what, who, and how. “Why are they networking? What do they hope to accomplish? Who will they be exposed to? How can they help those whom they will meet and how will the relationships they develop be mutually beneficial?”
Event or social site selection is crucial and must be done with clear selection. Find ones that are most beneficial to your goals and schedule. While choosing ones that are strictly business related, adding some that are for personal gain help to bring yo closer to like minded individuals. It’s about balance.
Always dress appropriately and come prepared for an event. Do some research on who’s attending, why the event is taking place, decides how you can contribute.
Conversing is something that is done whether it is in person or on social sites and this is actually one of the hardest rules to master. “Eighty percent of all conversations are listening” so when it is time to speak plan you must make the most of it. If you find yourself in a lull, ask open-ended questions, have three topics you can bring up as aback-ups. You want to find ways to engage your audience and keep them coming back for more.
Follow through and follow-up are key to being successful. If you make a promise adhere to it, for instance if you say you will email information on a certain date, then do it . Come up with creative ways to stay in contact with your connections. Emailing has become the best way to stay in contact versus using the phone; however, sending a old fashion note by U.S. Mail is sure to get noticed.
Like your mother always said, “manners are important”. Give your focus and attention to those who are engaging you. Speak when spoken to, give direct and valuable responses and make your audience fall in love with you. When you find others are seeking you out for your advice, help with an issue, or are offered opportunities then you know you have reached the status of “Successful Networker”.