Steps to Networking – Step 51: Be considerate

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 12th, 2010

STEP 51: Be considerate

We’ve all been on the receiving end of bull rushes from relentless pursuers who simply refuse to take no for an answer. These persistent characters have such intense focus, such single-minded insensitivity that you can’t shake them. They seem dauntless, impervious to clear rejections and you have to virtually hit them over the head to ward them off.

In addition, they always catch you at the most inconvenient or inappropriate times. They deliberately call while you’re eating or busy with others. They work weddings, funerals and social affairs like barracudas swimming in well-stocked waters. Their purpose is to wear you down and it frequently works. Sometimes you buy from or deal with them just to get them off your back, but in most cases, you would rather die than give them a dime. And those who deal with them, only do so once because who would want to repeat such unpleasant experiences?

Be considerate of contacts. Don’t intrude or overstay your welcome. “People who overtly network or overtly try to sell themselves to others are usually not very successful,” Robert Iger President of the Walt Disney Company told us. “You have to be ambitious, but you cannot wear ambition on your sleeve. Plus, you cannot “press” too hard. It’s always better to sell yourself with deeds than with blatant salesmanship. Also, you have to wait for the opportunity to present itself and then pounce on it when it comes. People who try to create opportunities look too opportunistic.”

Networking events

Before you attend a networking event:

• Know your purpose. Clearly define what you hope to accomplish and set concrete goals. Challenge yourself. Decide whether you want three catering jobs, get recommendations on a new printer or find out which French classes you should attend?

• Decide how many people you want to meet. Do you want to find three people who hire speakers, three skate board experts or seven prospects for your book club. Identify precisely who you hope to meet and have a back up list.

• Set financial goals. Put precise dollar figures on the business you hope to generate. Tell your projections to friends; it will increase your resolve and help them to spot leads and opportunities for you.

• Determine what you want to learn. Clearly identify the areas where you need more knowledge and ask those you meet for their ideas of the best ways to attain it.

• Have a list of questions that you can ask other attendees, speakers or members of the host organization. For example, Why are you here? What are you working on? What books do you recommend? Which people should I meet?

• Allow yourself to have fun. Keep in mind that networking events are not all business; they have a social component. So make it a point to have fun and enjoy yourself. When you are having fun people will be attracted to you and you will network more successfully.

Business expertise. As we’ve previously said, in order to successfully network, you must know your stuff, you must be an expert. You need business expertise. Business expertise is not just a one-time accumulation of knowledge that once attained need not be further maintained. To the contrary, business expertise is a continuing process of learning, keeping up and testing the frontiers, the outer limits of your industry. To do business with the best, you can’t merely be up to speed, you must be in the vanguard, among the elite, at the front of the pack.

If you go to an event and can’t promptly provide great answers to inquiries about your interests, you’re committing networking suicide. You’re placing a big black mark next to your name, on your reputation, which those present will remember and may report to their friends. Overcoming negative impressions is murder because most people won’t give you a second chance; they won’t waste their time with someone who has already proven unworthy.

So, if you’re going to network, know your stuff and be able to clearly articulate it. View every question an opportunity and be ready to make the most of each.

Personal expertise. Increase your knowledge by getting into the habit of constantly reading. Knowledge is power. Read everything: national and local newspapers, magazines and a wide variety of books. Read about your business, your interests, other people’s businesses and their interests as well as totally new subjects. Expand your horizons.

Reading places deposits in your knowledge bank and it yields interest that compounds constantly. Hellen Davis, CEO of Indaba Training Specialists, Inc. makes it a point to read the Wall Street Journal and USA Today in the morning before she attends networking events. Davis feels that having the latest business and national news at her fingertips makes her more interesting, which enhances her ability to make a wide range of contacts that can develop into strong relationships.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

1 Comment


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