Think second degree

November 25, 2006

Many people have difficulties approaching other people at networking events because they don’t want to be pushy. They don’t want other people be pushy towards them, so they don’t like to be perceived as pushy themselves.

Another phenomenon is that at some networking events like Chamber of Commerce events in Belgium are primarily frequented by sales people. Often they are disappointed that they didn’t find new customers or at least prospects at the event.

And that’s because they were at the wrong place to find new customers. Those customers were not there.

Does that mean that you shouldn’t go to these events? No.

But you have to change your perspective and your expectations. Don’t expect to find prospects, but expect to find potential referrers and people who can help you (and who can be helped by you).

Instead of going for the direct business with people you meet at an event, make some time to get to know each other and look for ways how you can help each other to reach each other’s network (the second degree).

You won’t only have more opportunities, but also a different approach: it’s not about selling and buying (and being pushy) anymore, but about helping each other.

I invite you to focus on this approach the next event. Do it and be surprised of the results !

Have a great networking day !

Jan


Tell other people what you’re looking for

November 18, 2006

Many people don’t know what to talk about. Another major issue in networking is that people feel that they are only giving and don’t receive anything in return.

One thing you can do to solve both “problems” at once, is to tell people what you are looking for. If you are looking for a new employee, tell that when you are talking to other people.

Don’t assume they can’t help you. You never know who they know.

For example you can say something like: “I’m looking for a new marketing assistant. Who do you know who can help me find this person?”

This question does three things:
You ask for help. This is an opportunity to receive something back from your network.
You don’t limit yourself to the person you are talking to. You also ask about the network of your network, the second degree.
You empower the other person. Expect that this person can help you in one way or the other. This will make this person feel good. So even if you don’t receive a good answer right away you will have at least strengthened your relationship with this person.

To your success !

Jan


Ask

November 11, 2006

How many times could we use some help to find a solution. Or to find it faster. And still we do it on our own.

There could be many reasons for this. One is a rather negative thought pattern: “Who am I to ask this question?”, “They will probably have no time to help me.”, “They probably won’t help me” or “They don’t know the right people”.

In many cases these are wrong assumptions, but if you repeat them enough, you will start believing them. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t fall into this trap.

People love to help each other. Especially if it doesn’t cost any money and only a fraction of their time.

So it is up to you to ask a good question. Give enough context, but don’t overdo it either.

And always ask them how you could help them. Especially if you have the feeling that you are only “taking” from the other person, just asking this question will ensure that you keep the balance between giving and receiving.

Have a great networking day !

Jan


Networking at conferences

November 4, 2006

Yesterday, on Friday Nov 3, I was invited as one of the guest speakers at the TvZ Conference in Arnhem (the Netherlands). It was a conference for managers in the social non-profit sector (hospitals etc.)

In my presentation I asked the audience who was there for the speakers and who was there for the other participants.

80% responded they were there for the speakers and only 20% to network with the other attendants. A stunning result for me and I also told them that.

I also explained why. The speakers were people who could inspire them and give them new insights. A powerful, but unfortunately in many cases only a short term “solution”.

The other attendees however are people with the same problems and challenges. By getting to know them and starting to build a relationship with them there would be a long term source for sharing issues and finding solutions.

So my advice for you is: when you attend a conference, don’t set only learning goals but also be open to meet new people and reinforce your existing relationships !

Have a great networking day !

Jan


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