Networking and referrals can easily mean the difference between a thriving business and someone barely scraping by. However, networking can be time consuming. For most of us, getting a better return on our time is an ongoing goal that we are constantly working on. The good news is, most of us can get a lot better at networking, yours truly included! Here are 3 tips to keep in mind to be more intentional when you network so you can get more impact out of your time spent meeting others!
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If you’re already out there networking, you probably have seen and heard it all. The people who talk about themselves non-stop. That one person that hands out 1000 business cards like it’s monopoly money. The (shudder) people that try to sell you on something before they even know you or know if you’re a prospect. Networking can suck sometimes. It can also be highly effective if it’s done correctly.
Here’s some ways to be more intentional and more effective at you networking. As we like to say…
“Pay Attention to Intention.
Tip 1: Be intentional with your questions
There are a lot of great questions to ask networking, ‘what do you do for work?’ is not really one of them. Yes, it might give you some information about someone, but it isn’t going to open someone up the way many other questions can and will. Someone is always going to share what they do when prompted, but a better question might be ‘can you share what you do and why you decided to do it?’ At least this way you’ll get someone to really stop and think for a moment. That’ll help them remember you and it’ll help you learn some details you might not otherwise have learned.
Also read: Finding and developing context in your conversations and Asking the right questions
Tip 2 – Be intentional with how you listen
Someone says something to you. You listen and you respond back. They listen and they respond back. This is communication. Except…except often what someone says and what they meant are two different things. And then of course, what’s said and what’s heard are often two different things. It’s normal to struggle with listening, we are naturally going to try to focus on what we want to say. Getting intentional with listening will change the way everyone around you views you, positively. Be intentional and listen carefully! Best way to do it? Repeat what somebody said to you to make sure you heard it correctly and to make sure they said it correctly!
Also read: Top Tips To Excel At Active Listening
Tip 3 – Give intentionally
Going into networking events with the mindset of giving is very different than most attendees. Most attendees will only go into networking trying to get. If you go in with the intention of giving you will positively help someone. When you help someone, they like you and are more likely to help you. Do this enough and you’ll experience 10x or 100x the return of someone who is only looking to ‘get’ from a networking event!
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