Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

Leadership Blog

Guidelines for Effective In-Person Networking

Guest Blog Post by Joseph Kennard

There is an old saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”  This warning is true and it works for networking.  To be successful in networking you need to remember a few guidelines.

  1. Networking is WORK.  Work is right there in the name. You must work to make it second nature, seamless, and natural. Some people treat networking as a necessary evil.  Others embrace the initial introductions, but their efforts fade with regard to building and maintaining the relationship. Like other elements of work, you must consistently work at networking in order to build mutually successful relationships!

 

  1. You must give something back for it to work.  The contacts that you make are in business.  Time is valuable and you must appeal to them in order to receive their attention.  They must perceive that your message is as valuable as their time.  You must strive to inform and engage your audience. The question of “What is in it for me?” should be answered before they think to ask.

 

  1. Practice. Practice on EVERYONE.  Listen to everyone’s story and ask powerful questions. Find their pain. Find their joy. Enable them to willingly share their contact information, and then follow up as appropriate. Follow up soon. Send an email thanking them for their time. Send a link to an article they may find of interest concerning that pain or joy. Add a link to a blog of appropriate content. Send them your newsletter.

 

  1. Be nice and be genuine. People love that. Make contacts and pass along information because it is the right thing to do. People like to work with genuinely nice people. Do not try to fake it. If you try to fake it, you will fail and they will notice.  Nobody likes a phony.

 

  1. Be consistent and follow up on a regular basis. Just make sure you have a business purpose to reach out, otherwise it may feel like a cold call. Touch base and check in, always offering to help if you can.  Goodwill goes a long way. As a result, you may get a lead, or at least garner a lead for one of your allies. Also, the odds are good that if you share a lead, they will reciprocate. Everyone wins, and winning is the whole idea.

 

Bottom Line: Even though effective networking is work, it does not have to be drudgery. Follow a few guidelines and continually enhance your networking style. The process will ultimately become more fun, and more profitable.

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Joseph Kennard is a Tampa Bay based leadership consultant and executive coach. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching and consulting services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com.

© 2012 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2012-11-27 at 09:41 AM
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