Last week, I talked about ten rules of networking. At that time, I could only come up with seven, largely because I was distracted by dinner. Having a week to mull the issue over, and having dispatched the evening comestibles, I submit the other three for your consideration.
8. Networking is not selling. (This principle was suggested by my good friend Ruth.) Such is the claim though there are many who would argue the point vigorously. Very few people show up at a networking event ready to buy anything which explains why nobody ever seems to have any money on them. The idea of networking is to educate people in attendance as to how you are able to solve their problem without telling them exactly what it is that you sell. For example, say you sell widgets. Let’s further state that they are the best widgets made anywhere as evidenced by the fact that your widget will solve every widget problem on the planet. You, of course, want to educate folks of that fact so you might state that widget problems are a terrible blight on the American landscape and you are hear to eradicate that very issue. Once you have their attention as to your world renowned problem solving talent, then you sell them stuff.
9. Say thank you – a lot. There is not one person at a networking that owes you even so much as a sideways glance. The fact that they took the time to hear of your non-selling, problem solving talent (you are, of course, a legend in your own mind – but they don’t know that) is enough for you to be eternally grateful. Thank every person that speaks to you. They have chosen to spend a few minutes of their life listening to you. That is time they will never get back. Don’t waste it. Extra credit project – when you get back to the office, consider sending a thank you note to each person you met. That brings us to the final principle.
10. Who is the real priority anyway? Consider every person at a networking event as more important than you. I daresay an attitude such as I have suggested would indeed make the world a much better place. You might even consider posing the following inquiry to each person at the start of a conversation, “What can I do to help you?” Resist the temptation to give them an example of an appropriate reply by giving your own answer. Do remember the idea is to convey that you are genuinely interested in the other person.
Well, there you have it.