Being a networking expert is probably not as difficult as you think. A little organization can make all the difference. Here are our tips to make yourself indispensable to those you meet in the line of business:
- Forget yourself. I mean it. You are the least important part of the equation in a networking situation. If you approach people with the intention of getting them to do something for you (see your site, talk about you, or heaven forbid–buy something), you have lost the potential for a great networking relationship.
- Do something for someone else without expecting anything in return, and be sincere. It’s the only way to create trust.
- If you want something from someone, think about how you can help them first. This might mean stalking them on Twitter to find out what they’re in need of, and you may not find what you’re looking for right away. Typically if you’re business-savvy and you want something from someone, the person you’ve chosen will be pretty amazing people to start with. But keep at it and you will find a way to make yourself useful.
- Because of the way Karma works (or, what goes around comes around), you may find you never even actually need to ask for anything because the situation will arise where someone helps you with what you need, either directly as a result of what you do for others, or in a more indirect way. This is the beauty of good networking. Introducing people who need each other is often a great way to create added value in whatever you do.
- Keep a networking diary and note down everyone’s pain points as well as what people have to give. Do this for all the people you meet so that you can connect them up when you come across their opposite number.
- As a follow-on from this you could actually ask people who they would most like to meet, or who they think would be most likely to help them in a networking situation. That is a valuable list you have there because others would like to meet them too, for the same reasons.
- Finally, when you make networking an important part of your business strategy you will have lots to remember. Write everything down as soon as you can after a meeting and devise a system for keeping all your notes. If you feel more comfortable using an app on your phone, then do that. However you do it, keep a record of all the valuable information you access through networking so that you can refer back to it when necessary. I find that even the mere act of writing it down makes it more likely that I’ll remember important points (like people’s names and professions) without actually referring to my notes.