Regardless of whether you have a business or not, it is very important to network if you want to be successful. People who do not network and think that it is not needed are the those who are not exceeding in life to their fullest potential. All great entrepreneurs became who they are now because of a connection or connections- most likely connections. And I’m going to be upfront with you, being an entrepreneur revolves around people so if you hate people and let alone connecting with them, you are in the wrong business. As an entrepreneur, you observe what people need and then you find a solution for their problem. Entrepreneurs are always constantly developing personal growth and learning about people. One of my favorite quotes from Robert Kiyosaki:
“The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work.”
After attending many networking and social events, I have formulated nine ways to network efficiently and effectively.
The 9 ways on how to network efficiently and effectively:
1) Remember their name.
In the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie preached:
“Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
With that being said, whoever you just met or shook hands with, it is vital that you don’t forget their name. And as simple as that may sound, many of us overlook this aspect. If you are someone who tends to forget names easily, here are a few ways that can help you remember names better:
– ask them to repeat their name another time
– write down their name after you finish the conversation
– correlate their name to something or someone
– add them onto your contacts
2) Be friendly.
Look, I’m going to go ahead and be upfront with you, no one wants to talk with the ass hole so be kind. The old saying, treat others how you want to be treated goes a long way. And you never know what the other person might be going through- everyone has something they are dealing with. Also, being kind doesn’t mean you you are weak or not strong; kindness is one of the traits of a leader. A quote from an American author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, stated:
“Take time to be kind and say thank you.”
There is always time to be kind. The more you practice kindness, the more genuine connections you will build.
3) Spark a conversation.
For me, when I decide I’m going to do something, I just do it. Using the same concept, if I told myself I will network more and create new relationships, I will do whatever it takes to do so- even if it is out of my comfort zone. Albert Einstein stated:
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
Not everyone will go up to you and start a conversation; sometimes and if not all the time, you will have to initiate the conversation. And you are going to be fine; the more you do this, the easier it becomes. If you don’t know how to spark a conversation, find a common interest by observing your surroundings and understand the type of people around you. For example, if you go to a networking event that is for real estate then you can connect with people by asking them about real estate. Or if you are meeting someone in a random place and they are wearing a suit, compliment on their suit and then introduce yourself. You can literally start a conversation about anything. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur and business person, you need to be able to take charge. The worst that can happen is all from your imagination and has not even happened, don’t overthink it and just do it. Now, go towards them and introduce yourself.
4) Listen attentively before you speak.
As humans, we normally just talk about ourselves but if we want to be able to build connections and relationships, we need to listen to the other person first. I highly recommend reading the holy grail of all entrepreneurs and business owners, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. In this book you will learn how to listen genuinely and speak to others. Look, the truth is everyone wants to be heard and if you give them your time from the day, they will most likely keep in contact with you.
5) Add value- find a way to help them.
In order to add value to person that you are talking to, you need to listen attentively and ask the right questions. Here are a few basic questions that will help you find out what they need:
– What brings you to this networking event?
– Being in this field (their career), what do you find most difficult?
– As an entrepreneur, what do think your challenges are
6) Make them laugh, win a smile.
Going to these networking/social events or just prospecting can sometimes be awkward for the both of you. If this is the case, the best thing to do is to make them laugh somehow. Laughing will enable a lighter mood and create a space where trust can be built. Mark Twain, the American entrepreneur, quoted:
“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”
When in doubt, start making them life and from there genuine relationships can be built.
7) Follow up and follow through.
This is probably the most important thing you need to remember when you network. And this is easier said then done; many people that neglect following up with someone already lost that prospect. Most people forget to follow up so hence you have to be someone that does the opposite, especially if you want to be ahead of the game. Now if you made a promise or said you were going to do something, do it or don’t even say it at all. If you are someone who loves helping but find that you have no time yet you are still taking on projects, just under promise.
8) Have eye contact, don’t wander around.
Eye contact is key, I repeat, eye contact is key. You can talk to someone and try to connect but if you don’t have eye contact towards them then the next time you both encounter each other, most likely they might not want to talk to you. The importance of eye contact is that is shows respect for the other person. And who wants to be disrespected? Do you wan to be disrespected? These are rhetorical questions. The C.E.O of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, stated:
“Don’t avoid eye contact and don’t be late.”
The way a person looks at you can tell you how they feel without saying a word. Be careful of what story you are telling them.
9) Practice makes perfect.
Some people can easily talk with people and some people can’t- if you are one those people then don’t worry, the more you talk with people, the easier it will be. And sparking a conversation will be second nature to you.
Remember that in order to be successful you need to build genuine relationships; your network equals your net worth.
If you want to learn more on how to network, schedule a Skype call with me. Stay tuned for the next tips on how to become even more successful in business and life.