I’m not a huge fan of the term “networking” – it sounds very sterile and unemotional. I prefer the more personal and emotional term “making friends”. This is what we’re really doing. We’re meeting new people and making friends with them with the common goal to help each other grow our business and prosper. This is what friends do – they help each other.
Here’s a few habits/techniques that are foolproof. Adapt them to suit your personality and style. Above all enjoy the process and have fun while doing it. Some of these techniques you’re probably already doing – which is great. Develop these to the point they become automatic and are a part of you and how you behave. Then watch the fun happen.
- Be Passionate – when you love what you do your presence is already magnetic and noticeable. Share your passion with others and ask how you can be of assistance to them. Be the first to offer something to improve their situation. Do this without expecting anything in return. Some will gladly offer something in return and others won’t. Those that are equally passionate will gladly want to share their passion and intentions. Birds of a feather flock together.
- Exude Warmth – everyone wants to be recognized for who they are and feel better. Go in with the attitude that you have a special gift you want to share with others. Help them feel better after talking with you than they did prior to meeting you. Smile, pay them a genuine compliment, and ask them to tell you something great that recently happened to them. Expect friendliness and this is what you’ll be rewarded with.
- Be Authentic – you’re looking to build connections and not just add a name to your contact list. Go in with a team player mentality and look for ways to improve everyone’s situation. Always speak your truth, be kind, and listen to their replies instead of thinking of your response. Be open and vulnerable – don’t hold back. If you don’t get a reciprocal response then move on.
- Explore – people are more comfortable with others who share something in common with them. Ask questions and do some exploring to find these commonalities. Once you find a few commonalities spend time building upon them and deepening your new relationship.
- Listen – everyone loves talking about themselves and being recognized for their uniqueness. Learn what makes them tick and ask questions to further deepen the relationship. Encourage them to tell more of their story so you can find other commonalities to share. Don’t formulate your response while they’re talking.
- See the Best in Everyone – become skilled at recognizing everyone’s unique talents. Let them know you recognize it and explore how you can help them share their gift with the world. Everyone wants to feel better and be recognized for their uniqueness – help them do this and they’ll never forget you.
- Be Curious – ask questions to clarify conversation points so you have a firm grasp of the subject at hand. This not only demonstrates you’re listening, but strengthens the relationship by deepening the commonalities.
Everyone is there for the same reason – to meet new people and grow their business. Help yourself and everyone relax by just being yourself, welcoming them into your experience, and exploring ways for you to assist them.