People often look at networking as a tired term, but it can be your stepping stone to greater influence, ultimately, referrals. When meeting someone new, here are 7 proven steps to improve your networking ability:
1INTRODUCE YOURSELF CLEARLY AND CONCISELY
Though this may see obvious, it is often overlooked or done poorly. First, say your name and company, and then ask the same from your listener.
2. BE SPECIFIC ABOUT YOUR LINE OF WORK Don’t say, “I’m in computers,” or “I’m in travel.” Instead be specific. For example, “My firm specializes in local area networks for the real estate industry. Or, “We focus on the lowest possible fares for law firms that fly their lawyers on short notice, and we can get them waivers and favors reduce their bottom lines.” 3. ORGANIZE YOUR INTRODUCTION Prepare a 15-second opening statement that describes what you do. If your product or service is technical or hard to explain, begin with a 15 to 20-second story that illustrates what you do. Stories help create and maintain listener interest.
4. INFORM, DON’T SELL Don’t come on with a sales pitch. When in doubt, remember a low key introduction is always better.
5. BE YOURSELF Not being you can make you look silly, artificial, or worse. Learn what makes people receptive and master that. There is no substitute for authenticity.
6. BE AN AVID LISTENER When someone’s is speaking, it’s tempting to be thinking of your response. But careful listening builds goodWill, trust, and confidence.
7. FOLLOW-UP Always send a personal note to followup your conversations. It is unlikely your listener will need your product or service immediately. But don’t be surprised when they make the call and say “1 really appreciated your note when we met last.”
You only have one chance at a first impression. An effective networker can’t afford to waste that opportunity.