Written By: Joe Leary – VP Membership, BNSME & Coach, Teacher, Speaker at The John Maxwell Group
There are a lot of theories about networking, and most of them focus on how or what you need to do. Knowing how to network will not make you successful.
The secret is knowing who you need to be. Stop focusing on what you need to do and focus on who you need to be.
If you were to describe the best networker in the world, how would you describe him or her? What attributes or characteristics would they have? How would they show up?
Here are some things you need to be:
- Intentional – What is your purpose for networking? What is your desired outcome for the event? What do you want to learn or take away from the event? Who do you want to meet? Are you intentional about becoming the type of person people want to network and connect with?
- Present – Let’s face it, we live in a world where people are easily distracted. Have you ever been in a conversation and felt like the other person wasn’t paying attention? Or worse, they started looking at their phone. We are in the P2P (People to People) business, and the greatest gift we can give someone is our time and attention.
- Interested – I was on a call with John Maxwell when a caller asked “How can I be more interesting?” John advised the caller to “be more interested than interesting.” “Help them see that THEY are more interesting.” When an opportunity arises at a networking event, ask questions to show the person that you’re interested rather than interesting.
- Likeable – This may seem obvious, but I’ve attended networking events and met people who were standoffish. I recently heard about a boy who worked as a bagger at a supermarket. To connect with his customers, he happily greeted them and put inspirational quotes in their shopping bags. What can you do to be more likeable?
- Persistent – To be successful at networking you have to be determined. You’re going to hear “no” to requests for meetings, and sometimes you will get rejected by people you are looking to do business with. The key is to reframe setbacks, and to keep attending events.
Dan Waldschmidt, author of EDGY Conversations wrote, “The single biggest difference between those who achieve their dreams and everyone else is their willingness to keep trying long after it seems logical, reasonable, fun, fair, or smart.”
Who do you need to become in order to succeed at networking? Remember, the “who” comes before the “how.”