Where should I network?

June 24, 2006

Recently I met a man at a networking event, asking me: where should I network? And how much time do I have to spend on online networks?

This man was looking for a one-sentence-answer. I had to disappoint him. Because there is no one-fits-all solution to this question.

There are many parameters to consider like:
– What are your goals? Professional and private.
Who can help you reach these goals?
Where are these people? Which events do they attend? Are they on networking websites? Which websites?
– When attending an event, be aware that your goal might be different than that of others. You might be looking for new customers, but they might be looking to exchange experiences with their colleagues. Prepare yourself by asking the organisation or people who already attended this event in the past what you can expect !

These questions are not always easy to answer. But you have an incredible aid: your network. Ask your contacts to help you with your questions. They will be glad to help you !

To your success !

Jan

PS: tips about to reach your goals, how to network at events and on the web can be found in my networking book “Let’s Connect!” (visit www.letsconnect.be for more info and a FREE light version of the book)


Networking Coach in the media

June 17, 2006

Last weeks I got some nice attention of the media in Belgium. The magazine Bizz made a series of articles about networking titled “double your network in 5 weeks” and the Belgian national television VRT invited me for an interview about networking in the program “De Zevende Dag“.

Why do I mention this? Of course it’s nice to get some publicity and I’m flattered and proud as well. But in the first place I want to share with you how this happened.

One of the principles of good networking is “give without expecting anything in return“. That’s what I did with the reporter of Bizz, Hans Hermans. I shared my knowledge with him and introduced him to many people that were interviewed as well for the networking series. So he got lots of input for his articles ànd people he could get more information from without having to spend much time looking for them.

Another universal and networking law is: if you can really give unconditionally, things will come back more than double. And that’s what happened with Bizz. Without telling me, they put me on the cover. It was a real surprise when I opened my mailbox and saw my own face smiling at me (look at the cover of Bizz to see what I experienced ;-)).

So my advice for this week is: share freely with your network. It WILL come back in one way or the other!

To your success !

Jan

PS: the issue of Bizz about networking is still available in the newspaper shops in Belgium (in Dutch and French).


Marketing material on a networking event?

June 10, 2006

Do you bring marketing material to networking events? This is a topic that has to be handled very carefully.

Normally it is not done to take brochures or other marketing material with you.

The reasons are that this looks too much like selling and that people don’t want to walk around with a bunch of papers.
A possible alternative is that you provide a small checklist or “tips from the expert”.

It is important that you don’t sell, but help people.

The size of this marketing material should ideally not exceed the size of the left inner pocket of a man’s suit. So he can put it away. Women normally carry a purse where they can store your material.

And only give it when it’s appropriate, meaning NOT at the beginning of a conversation.

Have a great networking day !

Jan

PS: this is an abstract from my networking book “Let’s Connect!” (go to www.letsconnect.be and get your FREE light version of the book)


Respect time

June 3, 2006

Time is very democratic. Everybody gets the same amount every day. You can’t save it and you can’t buy it. So you have to be very careful how to spend it. And the same applies for the people you meet on events.

Remember: if you decide to spend the whole event with one person, then that’s your choice. But always check if the other person is also OK with that. Respecting time not only applies to events, but also to telephone conversations, e-mails, instant messaging and all other moments when you communicate with people.

Especially when you are not at an event, it is a good habit to indicate how much time you want from your contact and to check if he is OK with that.

To your success !

Jan

PS: this is an abstract from my networking book “Let’s Connect!” (go to www.letsconnect.be and get your FREE light version of the book)


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