Networking is a fundamental part of all success that can simply be defined as the exchanging of information and building of meaningful relationships between people or groups of people. You need people in order to succeed at whatever endeavor that you pursue. There are two main ways to network, either on-line or off-line. Both are effective and both require similar attributes.
Here are 4 traits of a great networker:
1. Be a giver- Don’t network with other people expecting something from them. You should look to offer them something of value that can truly help them. By doing this, you will attract more people to you and ultimately someone will return your graciousness and help you get the information or connection that you need.
2. Don’t be that guy (or girl)- Have you ever met someone either offline or on a social media platform like Twitter or Facebook and the first thing that they do is try to sell or pitch you their product, opportunity or service? I hate that! If you develop a relationship first, the sale will follow or the person will join your business, etc. If someone tries to sell or pitch their product or service right away before they even get to know me, that is a major turn off and they will not get my support. It is critical that you get to know what the person that you are trying to network with wants first before trying to pitch your opportunity or product.
3. Make the effort- If you want to network with someone, you need to make the effort to do so. That means you need to reach out to them whether it is introducing yourself in person, or sending them a message/connecting online. When you introduce yourself, tell them why you would like to network with them. Perhaps they are very knowledgeable about something that you are working on and you want their help or opinion. Maybe they are in a particular line of work in which you are very skilled in, and you want to find out the challenges that they face in order to help them with your service/opportunity.
4. Ask questions- When you have introduced yourself and begin dialogue, you should be asking more questions than talking. People like to talk about themselves so let them talk! Remember, you learn more by listening than you do talking. Asking questions such as, “What caused you to go into business for yourself?” or “What are some of the difficulties that you are having with _____?” These are great, engaging questions that will cause the person you are networking with to open up. When they tell you information about themselves, you can provide them value by offering your product, service or expertise based on the conversation. In turn, they can provide value to you as well; networking is a two-way street.
Networking is done by everyone in any field of work, business, or schooling. Good networkers are able to work smarter and accomplish more because they can get useful information from others as well as work with them to accomplish mutually beneficial success. If you focus on these 4 traits, you too can become a great networker.
To your networking success!