Networking Skills: Save The Detail For Your Private Meetings
Focus on the whole meeting ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 03/10/2018 @ 8:00AM
"I hate networking, it's so artificial and superficial." I often hear that, and as I usually talk to people when I'm networking I do wonder why they are there if they dislike it so much ...
When you're networking, focus on the whole meeting and identify who you want to meet with!
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And usually, they're being artificial and superficial like the rest of us in the room. If that sounds harsh judgment, it isn't. Networking is a social occasion designed to bring together people who would not otherwise meet.
"And like every social gathering of strangers, it is artificial and mostly superficial for everyone. It's supposed to be like that!"
There is a time and a place for debating the nature of the economy and the impact on business in detail. At a networking event, it might be noted that another local shop has closed, or that good old Fred finally got his OBE.
On the other hand, good networking is also about getting some business done, and the business at hand is forming new connections and touching base with the people you already know and catching up with the gossip.
"All valuable stuff in a social setting!"
When you're ready to get deep and personal, then arrange a private meeting with that person. I have a goal when networking to arrange to meet up separately with three people in the room. So, I use the time in the meeting to decide who those people will be.
To do that means focusing on the whole meeting; who engages me and has something interesting to say that is relevant to me, Can they potentially help me or can I potentially help them.
Now, the private meeting is where you can go into more detail and start to form a personal relationship that will lead to business being done in some shape or form. Although it may still be casual and without a written agenda, a good opener is to agree what you will get out of the meeting.
Be clear and have prepared in advance what information you want to get across and what you would like the other person to do for you. Be prepared to be flexible with this in response to what they add into the conversation.
A good format for the first meeting is to take it in turns to explain what you do and give some background as to how you came to be running your business. What do you love about what you do?
Stories about your experience with your clients that show the results you achieve are really helpful here as they inform and engage the other person and you can get across a lot of detail without boring the pants off your listener.
Do add in a little about your other interests as well. A little self-disclosure helps to find what you have in common and is essential in forming the kind of trust that will result in taking your relationship to a new level.
"All in all about half an hour each is enough!"
Every meeting should finish with an agreement on what you can do for each other and how you will follow up. It might be something small like sending a link to an event they might be interested in or agreeing to put them in touch with someone who can help.
It is unlikely that at this early stage you'll give or receive a referral directly for business. That will come once you know you can trust and depend on the other person. So, in summary, keep your networking meetings light and save the detail for your private meetings and seminars.
"Would you like to know more?"
If you'd like to develop your own networking skills and learn how to build those vital referral relationships successfully, do give me a call on 07970 638857 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.
Until next time ...
More about Jacky Sherman ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!
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