Frequently I am reached out to by people who are trying to find a simple methodology they can keep in their head. A “mantra” if you will that they can take with them. It led me to list down all the reasons I think it is important to network, and all of the most important “tips” that will help you maximize your networking.
Ultimately it led me to come up with THE FIVE. The five essentials for building a strong relationship that will in turn build a strong network:
Set Goals – Always ask yourself why you are networking. Are you looking for a job? Making new friends? Generating business leads? Have a goal in mind before doing your networking. A clear goal is like a rudder on a sailboat, it will keep you going in the right direction.
Plan Your Approach – With clear goals laid out, you should then make sure you plan your approach. Know how you will present yourself to people. Why are you networking? What do you do? Keep in mind why it is you want to convey to people you will meet.
Find Mutual Connections – When you meet someone, there is a good chance in the course of two minutes to find a common thread between you and another person. Maybe someone you speak to have the same shoe style. Maybe you are from the same state. Maybe you have a common acquaintance. People feel a stinger connection to people with who they have a prior existing connection. Create that sense of conniption by finding a common thread.
Offer to help – Too frequently people who network are looking to get something for themselves. Even though you might have your own self serving goal that you want to achieve through networking, it does not mean you can’t also give of yourself. Someone is looking for clients? Maybe you have a lead. Maybe someone is looking for a job? Maybe you know who to connect them to. Someone needs to find a new service provider? Give them a suggestion. Be free and willing to help. People love to connect with those who are generous.
Rehash the Relationship – Meeting someone the first time is the beginning of a relationship, not the end. An easy way to keep in touch with people is to send emails now and then. Offer help, ask them to join you for coffee, or connect on linked in. If you are connected through social media, don’t be afraid to give a like to their content on occasion. Always let people know how much you care, then they will care more about you.