NETWORKING TIP OF THE WEEK: Never make assumptions about those you come into contact with. Everyone has friends, colleagues, relations and contacts, and one of them might be just the person you need to speak with.
NETWORKING TIP OF THE WEEK: Sometimes the most rewarding conversation starts with “I was wondering if you might have any suggestions.” or “I’m having some difficulty with… ” Asking for help is not a weakness but a strength. It simultaneously strengthens your relationships with other people who will appreciate the opportunity to contribute their expertise, at the same time as it improves your overall results.
Practice conversations with people in familiar and uncommon places. Asking questions is a sign of a good listener and will help you and build relationships. Connecting with people will bring you a world of opportunities.
Appearances count for a lot. Always expect to see someone important.
Get the word out! Last week I suggested that positioning yourself as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) would be a good way to attract people with similar interests who value similar expertise into your network. They will tend to find you. To help them find you, you have to get the word out about your expertise. Getting the word out can take many forms/channels and often using multiple channels will result in a stronger and reinforced message. Examples include, publishing a book, publishing articles in industry magazines, being the subject of an interview in the media (radio, newspaper, or TV), speaking to various groups, writing your own and/or contributing to other blogs, and simply providing help and advice to others. While you should not simply copy your material from one channel for use in another, the topics can be repurposed – preferably with a new twist. Be sure to highlight all of this in your LinkedIn profile as many networkers search LinkedIn for people with specific expertise. So, develop your expertise and then get the word out.
Position yourself as an SME! Being recognized as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) is a good way to attract people with similar interests who value similar expertise into your network. They will find you, so you will not have to work as hard at finding them. Of course, this assumes that you really have an expertise in some subject that is of interest/value to others. Think about what you are passionate about. Chances are that you are or can be good at something for which you have a passion. As long as that relates to a direction in which you want to grow your network, you have a good start.
You’ve got to give to get. The most successful networkers think first about how they can help satisfy the needs of those whom they wish to initiate or strengthen relations with.
When networking try to ask open-ended questions whenever possible. These are questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This opens up rather than closes down the conversation.
Don’t forget how important it is for you to physically move around and about when you’re at a networking event. You can’t work a room when you are stationary!