Ask for what you want, don’t expect it will happen automatically

October 29, 2006

The next story is already a few months old, but a presentation that I gave yesterday for Aiesec remembered me of it.

I was at a (live) networking event of Ecademy and encountered Vincent Dewaele from Mobistar. We met two years before when I was a speaker at the YEE Regatta.

So it was nice to see him again. And he was obviously pleasantly surprised that I still remembered his name. We talked a bit and suddenly he said: “I’m your biggest fan I guess”. “What do you mean?” I asked him. “I already ordered 10 copies of your book for my team and department members because networking is really important inside and outside our company.” he explained.

“Thanks a lot for ordering the books” I replied and I continued “Do you really mean that networking is perceived as very important in the company?”. “Yes it is” he said.

“Well, do you want to do me and Mobistar a favour then?” I asked him. “Sure” he replied. So I asked him the following question:

“Do you want to bring me and the training manager in contact with each other via an e-mail where you introduce us to each other?”

“Yes, of course” he answered. And he kept his promise. Two days later he sent the e-mail. A day later I got a phone call from the training manager. 3 days later we had an appointment and the next day the contract for a pilot session was signed.

Don’t you like this way of doing business? I do 😉

But it only happened because I asked him to introduce us to each other. Most people don’t do it themselves. Not because they don’t want to do it, but because they don’t think of it. So you have to help them to help you by asking them the question.

Try it for yourself and be surprised about the results !



Be honest when you feel uncomfortable at an event

October 23, 2006

The last weeks this topic came up in several presentations and training courses that I gave and I even got some e-mails about it so let’s do a post on it.

Many people don’t feel comfortable when they go to a networking event. And especially when it’s a new situation: new organisation, first time they go there, don’t know any other people,…

What most people do in this situation is to pretend everything is OK, but inside they are “dying”. Unfortunately, on a subconscious level you radiate this feeling of insecurity. The result is that it remains difficult. And that’s a pity, especially because there is a very simple solution for that.

Tell other people that you don’t feel comfortable. And give the reason why.

Two things will happen:

  1. The level of the uncomfortable feeling will decrease from the moment you talk about it. It loses a great deal of the power it has over you.
  2. People will help you. They will tell you more about the event, making you more comfortable and introduce you to other people.

So the only thing to turn an event into a success, is just tell other people.

Have a  great networking day !


Networking and trade fairs

October 7, 2006

Last week I was invited by Kompass to sign my book on their booth on the IRC fair in Hasselt, Belgium.

Since I have known the sales manager Manu Van Nuffel for a while I accepted their invitation. It was a nice example of a win-win situation: they offer me visibility to their relations and I provided extra value to the visitors of their booth.

This is for me also an example of networking: creating win-win relationships with people and organisations from your network.

The other booths could also have used some more creativity to get more people to their booths and get in touch with more people in general.

Here are some tips:

  • If there are not many people visiting your booth: don’t stay with 3 or 4 people in your booth, but walk around yourself and be interested in the booths of other people. Or go to the food area and network over there.
  • Don’t wait for people to come into your booth while reading a magazine in the meanwhile. Move to the edge of your booth and look at people. People who receive attention will give attention back. Don’t be aggressive though, just smile and have an inviting attitude.
  • Join (or organise) a pre-event with the other exhibitors. They might be excellent partners and referrers on the fair and afterwards. And maybe even your next major customer or preferred supplier !

Have a great networking day !


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