When you are networking, it is important that you are genuine in your conversations and interaction with others. A phony can be spotted a mile away. The last thing you want after you speak with someone is for them to walk away feeling like you were full of it. Genuine interest in them and your earnest desire to get to know them is imperative if you want to be successful at networking. A smile is a good start, however there must be genuine substance behind the smile.
Too often, people are more interested in how many business cards they can collect so they can jam them on their email list or worse yet, call that week and try to “sell” them something. This is the wrong approach. Your networking will be unsuccessful and give you a false sense of reality that networking doesn’t work. Networking does work. It is often the Networker that doesn’t work.
When at a networking function, be sure to not only ask questions but listen to the answers of the person you are connecting with. In fact, doing this in all areas of your life is advantageous both in your professional AND personal life. It is human nature to want someone to listen to them…not just hear them, but listen to them. You may think this sounds like common sense, and it should be but it’s not. Networking functions can be loud and full of distractions, making it easy to lose focus on the person you are talking to. Concentrate on the individual(s) you are talking with and soak it in. Doing this will reflect that you are genuine in your words and actions.
Professional Business Networking can be extremely beneficial to the growth of your business. When done properly, networking can bring about a wealth of ancillary opportunities! The key phrase here is “when done properly”. To do this, you must be genuine. Be yourself, care about others and be a good listener. Do this and you will see an immediate difference in the results of your networking. Oh yeah, don’t forget to smile.