The new and most misunderstood skill set that employers are demanding today is the ability for their employees, new hires, and prospective hires to network effectively. Employers are looking for people who can engage, connect, and create business relationships. People are engaging online in social media networking sites as well as through offline real world channels.
Let’s examine the most difficult piece to networking–engagement.
We have discussed what Networking is Not: the Hard Sell. We have talked about what Networking Is: Giving Value. Now it’s time to talk about how to approach people when you arrive at your networking meeting or event: How to Engage.
What Does Networking Mean?
1. Networking means that you are willing to listen and create an open discussion.
2. It means you are acting authentically and genuine in your interest for another person and their business.
3. It means you want to create a connection and engage
Tips To Engage
Note: I will assume that you will dress according to the event you are attending, support good habits of hygene, and present yourself with your best foot forward
1. “Let’s Make New Friends” begin your event with a positive attitude that you will meet and engage
2. Name Introduction then Re-Focus means introduce yourself but do NOT launch into your elevator pitch. Instead politely re-focus the attention-recognition on the potential connection with a Question:
“My name is Dean Guadagni and you are? . . . tell me about yourself (name) and your business”
3. Shut Up and Listen
4. Concentrate and Focus so you may comprehend their message
Very Important: The biggest pitfall I face in networking is constantly analyzing a conversation, searching for connections with other people, our synergy, or strategies we may have in common. When I do this stream of conscious analyzation, I miss much of the message from my potential networking partner!
5. Note Interesting Points for follow up questions
6. Be Attentive make and hold eye contact, nod and give body language which signals to the speaker that you are listening and engaged.
Note: NEVER make the “Bar” mistake. What’s that you say-the bar mistake? You men know this one–the act of looking beyond the speaker over their shoulder scanning the room. NEVER EVER do that even if you are waiting for somebody to arrive. This is the kiss of death to any connection and it is interpreted as very disrespectful even if you did not mean to be disrespectful
7. Have Fun. I have worked as a janitor, run a jackhammer, laid asphalt, moved furniture, day laborer, door to door salesman, and a number of other horrific jobs while getting established in life.
Networking is NOT so bad especially if you think back to your worst jobs and tasks.
Consider the fact that you may just meet a new friend!
8. Recognition is so important. If you give people recognition by listening, asking genuine questions, showing interest, and connecting you will make networking what it is meant to be–new partnerships. Give people recognition, make them feel special because everyone has something special that they do, help people feel supported