Five networking mistakes that most people make.
Are you having trouble networking or having trouble making your net work?
I have a secret to share. You are not alone
Most people make the same 5 basic mistakes and these 5 mistakes prevent them from successfully networking.
Do you make these mistakes?
If yes then the time has to change the way you network and to make your net work for you.
1. Take prior to Giving:
Most people see the goal of networking as finding people who can help one seal a deal, get a new job, find a new business opportunity et cetera. That is to say when we network we normally want something. However, be careful not to put the cart before the horse.
Don’t be a spoiled child with a give me, give me, give me attitude. Forget about what you want and try to discover how you can help. Only by giving something can you start to build a relationship where people will want to give to you (help you).
When you network, it’s all about them, not you.
2. Assume people care about your needs:
Your problems are your problems. Nobody really cares. You may well be desperately trying to save your business but apart from making some sympathetic noises of encouragement most people don’t , and shouldn’t, care.
Never expect others to respond to your needs. The only way to make connections is to care about the needs of others first. Ask how they’re doing. Ask what could help them. Care about others first; then, and only then, will they truly care back. Pay forward is the secret here.
3. Paper the walls with your cards:
Some people confuse quantity with quality. They network with anyone, giving business cards to everyone in the room. They seem to think they are in a race to collect the most business cards in 2 hours.
Networking isn’t a numbers game. Find someone you can help, determine whether they might (someday) be able to help you, and then approach them on their terms.
Carefully select the people you want to network with. If you come away from a 2 hour networking event with more than a handful of cards you have been wasting your and their time. 2 hours is 120 minutes, if you come back with 20 cards then you theoretically spoke on average with each person for only 6 minutes. If you delete from this the time it takes to move in and out of conversations, to get a drink and maybe a bite of food then it is probably only 5 minutes per person. Less is more. Less cards, that is, means more useful connections because you have had more of chance to discover how you can help them. This also means that large networking events are not useful because it is very hard to find the right, for you, people. Smaller targetted, themed events are far more beneficial.
Networking is like marketing: Targeting is everything and brand reinforcement (having a brief catch-up conversation with old contacts) is essential.
4. Assume tools create connections:
Having a large number of social media contacts is great – if you do something with those followers. Try and tag your followers so that you can send the right message to the correct followers. Don’t assume that all your WeChat friends see your messages or that your Facebook friends visit your page or even your LinkedIn connections read your updates. These are tools and the same as a pen needs a hand to guide it these social media platforms need to be nurtured and transformed from the virtual world to the real world.
5. Reach too high:
The best connections are mutually beneficial. What can you offer Bill Gates, Warren Buffett or Jack Ma? Not much. You may very well want to connect with them but why would they want to connect with you? What’s in it for them?
You have to earn their respect. Find people who can benefit from your knowledge, from your insights or your connections. The “status” level of your connections is irrelevant. All that matters is whether you can help each other reach your goals.
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