Are You a Networking Superstar?

StarThe expression networking is often overused, misused, and misunderstood. There are different reasons to network and different ways to go about it…some more effective than others. Let’s be honest. We’re all looking for something when we network, so why not convert our time and effort into a profitable outcome?

With the holidays upon us, there are lots of networking meet ups going on. So, how do you make the most of your networking events? Right off the top, you should be really clear about your goals before you enter.

Building long lasting relationships is what it’s really about for the best networkers. Concentrate on educating those you meet about what you do, and ultimately, how to best send you referrals. But I’m getting ahead of myself – that will come later. Walk into the room with the intent to build relationships, not to get clients or make a sale. At one time or another, I know you’ve dealt with the slickster shoving his hand in your face, giving you the hard sell. There’s one word for that approach – Ick. No thanks. Remember, we give business to those we know, we like and we trust. It takes an investment of time to build that kind of relationship.

To be super effective, networking is an ongoing process, not an occasional activity for when business is slow or you have an urgent need. If you only network when you need new clients, when sales are low, or are trying to find a new job, you’ll be disappointed.

Networking is an active and ongoing process that requires your commitment. The results are not immediate – they are built over time. And, networking is a two-way street! You gotta be willing to help others as much, if not more, than they help you. Always go above and beyond for your networking buddies. It almost always comes back to you in delightful, and often unexpected, ways.

Without question, profitable networking takes work, but it’s also a lot of fun! Approach it like a game. Be bold and step out of your comfort zone. It’s a chance to meet great people that might end up as part of your tribe for life. How cool is that?

Moxie Challenge: At your next networking event, make it your goal to connect with 3 people with the potential for a lasting relationship. Follow-up with those three people, within 3 days of the event, with a call or email. Let me know in the comments if you met my challenge! xo. ~KG

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