The definition of networking as written by Ivan Misner is:
“The process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence or serve the community.” (Misner)
Online building relationships includes:
Posting engaging content by sharing information about your company, your industry or any “proof of your worth” and update your page regularly.
Be careful not to be too self-serving. On LinkedIn, give recommendations and your contacts will return the favor. LinkedIn recommendations can be from clients and employees, both past and present.
You will truly engage when you join and participate in LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn Groups are a great way to connect with those who need your services or who have services that can enhance your company or product.
Twitter gives you another opportunity to meet and greet online. It is great to see a “shout out” tweet about your business, and followers will want to know more about this #coolproduct or #awesomeservice that just popped up on their device.
Another way to build online relationships are blogs. Blogging can be a bit intimidating to some, but not all bloggers are professional writers. What makes your blog interesting is sharing what you know and sharing helpful or humorous content.
Secret Weapons for Power Networking (face to face networking)
Targeting is the secret to success so please identify people and companies you want to meet by researching media, set Google alerts to gather information and research industry publications. To be ready for networking create your power introduction:
Purpose: What is the title of what you do?
Passion: What do you love doing? What action do you perform that can help your target market?
Proof: What are you currently working on, studying or have worked on that show you are credible and good at what you do?
Example of a networking conversation:
“So Emily, tell us about yourself”
“I am a graphic designer and I create invitations that engage event attendees. I am currently working on marketing materials for an event company.”
Conversation Tips: What is your target market? What is your biggest challenge? What are you trying to accomplish in the next year? What can I do to help you? Who can I introduce you to?
Be Memorable: Study how you are perceived by listening to how people introduce you and what they say to you. Prevent saying the wrong thing by asking yourself:
How will what I am about to say impact my listener?
How will what I am about to say impact me after I say it?
What is my motivation for saying it?
What am I trying to accomplish with this message?
Never stop growing your networking skills. Attend events and watch body language and what people say consider taking the role of a spy. You must watch people who are exceptional networkers to learn success!
Once you have played the role of a spy then take an accountability partner to a networking event. Your accountability partner must watch you network and give you honest feedback. As you practice you will see this becomes conversational and it is quick and to the point.
No one will become bored or tune out because you shared enough for them to understand and hopefully ask more about what you do.
Networking is a cost effective and a fun way to develop relationships and business. To find the best networking events check out CBC magazine events.
Change your mindset about networking:
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer
Katherine Miracle has created the Manifesto that is now a national training program called Brand+Team=Revenue with 53 trainers across America. Katherine is the CEO of Miracle Resources, an award-winning full-service marketing; public relations and training firm that helps clients increase revenue and awareness. She is a strategic personal branding expert and the author of “Your Strategic Personal Brand.”