Networking Tip: How to Avoid The 5 Barriers That Prevent People From Helping You

November 29, 2008

One of the advices I always give people when I’m doing a presentation or training course is: Help others to help you.

People have a genuine tendency to help each other.

But there are barriers. The five most important barriers are:
1) It costs them a lot of time.
2) The way the question is asked is in a “begging” way or in a demanding way, instead of sharing a goal.
3) They don’t know you enough yet to make a connection to a trusted friend or relationship.
4) Your question is not clear or too vague.
5) It is not clear to them which action is required.

Now you know these five barriers it is up to you to make them as small as possible.

Five barriers might seem a lot, but in reality they are easy to deal with.

What is my advice?

1) Be aware of the time constraints of what you want them to do for you. Also make clear to them how much time you need from them. Most of the time they have a wrong perception. They think they have to spend more time on your request than you actually want.

2) Share your goal or what you want to accomplish in a positive way. This has a tremendous effect on people’s willingness to help you.

3) Don’t ask people you have just met to recommend you to their network as a possible supplier or employee. However you can ask them to make a connection when you are looking for suppliers, partners, expertise or employees yourself!

4) Make your question as specific as possible. We tend to keep our questions vague hoping we get more responses. And maybe we do, but the quality will not be very high and we are both wasting the time of the people from our network and our own time as well.

5) If you want them to make a connection or just help you move some boxes for a few minutes, please tell them that and how to do that in the best way for them and you. Again many times they might think that you require half a day of work, while you just want them to do one specific action which will only require 5 minutes of their time.

Keep this advice in mind and test it out for yourself.

In the next week, before you decide to NOT ask for help, please read these tips again and DO ask someone to help you.

You will experience that you will get many positive responses and that you will get things done much faster!

Have a great networking week !


Jan Vermeiren, Founder of Networking Coach and author of the network book Let’s Connect!


Networking Tip: KWINK your memberships

November 22, 2008

Wednesday Brian Tracy was in Antwerp to give a one day seminar about High Performance Leadership.

I would like to share two of the many things I picked up from this seminar.

Brian talked about KWINK and he also shared a Turkish Proverb. They both relate to the same thing. So let’s look at them and see how we can apply them to networking.

KWINK stands for: Knowing What I Now Know.

It is about Knowing What I Now Know, would I hire the same people again, would I offer the same products or services, would I do the same investments,…

The Turkish Proverb was:

“No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.”

When we relate these two things to networking, we can ask ourselves: Knowing What I Now Know, would I become member of a particular organisation again?

If no, turn back, go another road and become member of another organisation.

Not sure which one to join? Ask your network. Tell them what or who you are looking for and which organisations they know. Still no good answers? Ask your colleagues, customers, suppliers or partners which organisations they are member of.

Have a great networking day !


Jan Vermeiren, founder of Networking Coach and author of the network book Let’s Connect.

I’m on LinkedIn but I still don’t get a customer or a job offer

November 15, 2008

Nowadays many people are member of an online business network like LinkedIn, Ecademy, Xing, Facebook or one of the many others.

When the topic of online business networks comes to the table, there are always people who say: “These networks don’t work, I haven’t got any customer via LinkedIn.” Or “Why doesn’t anybody offer me a job. My profile states that I’m open for a new one.”

And then you see other people nod their head affirming what was just said.

But when I ask them to how many people they have reached out to themselves, how many people they have contacted to buy something from them or how many people they offered a job, they all remain silent.

Some even say: “I don’t have time to do that!”

That’s OK. But don’t expect other people to take the actions you won’t do yourself!
Besides do they really call themselves a “member”?

In my opinion they are not a member, they just have a profile.
Let’s compare it with a membership of an organisation. What do members do?

They interact with other members. They listen to others and they answer questions about themselves. In this way they get to know each other and increase their KNOW-factor.
They help the other members by giving them tips and connecting them with other members or with people from outside the organisation. And they do that without expecting anything in return. In this way they “add points” to their LIKE-factor.
They help the organisation through volunteering and sharing their own knowledge and expertise. In this way the TRUST-factor increases.

If you only pay a membership fee, but never show up, nothing much will happen.

And even if you show up, but remain seated on a chair in a corner, also not much will happen either. 
The same kind of dynamics apply to online networking. So here are some tips:

1) Making your profile is the first step.
2) Put enough information in your profile so that other people can find you and notice you, even if you are not proactive yourself.
3) Reach out to people. Start conversations.
4) Join groups and forums and bee active in them. Answer questions and post your own questions. Help people and give them the opportunity to help you.
5) Connect people with each other. When you think it would be beneficial for two people to know each other, be proactive and introduce them to each other.
6) Answer questions in your field of expertise to develop your image as an expert in your field.

By doing these actions you will create more visibility and credibility. Your Know, Like and Trust Factor will increase.

And what will happen next is probably not what you think that might happen: that the people you interact with become your customer or offer you a job. They probably won’t. But what they will do, is talk about you to their network, resulting in many more customers or job offers.

Online networking, just like “normal” networking, takes some time, but after the initial investment period it will bring much larger benefits in the long run.

Have a great networking day !


PS: feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, Ecademy, Xing or Facebook. Make sure to make your invitation to connect personal ! I don’t accept the standard invitations messages.

Jan Vermeiren, founder of Networking Coach and author of the networking book Let’s Connect (including a bonus Online Networking Power Pack wit a 10 step online networking strategy)

Networking Coach Jan Vermeiren interviews Canadian Networking Guru Michael Hughes

November 8, 2008

In our series “Interviews with networking experts from all over the world” you can listen to an interview I did in August with Canadian networking guru Michael Hughes on a very special location: in the building of the United Nations in New York.

I especially enjoyed Michael’s opinion about competition (which I share by the way :-)).

Listen to the interview between Networking Coach Jan Vermeiren and Canadian Networking Guru Michael Hughes (9 minutes).

This is Michael Hughes’ website where you can find more tips:

Have a great networking day !


PS: if you want to listen to more interviews with other networking experts, scroll down and in “select category” choose “Interviews with worldwide networking experts”.

Jan Vermeiren, founder of Networking Coach and Networking Speaker (or in Dutch: Spreker over netwerken)

Networking Tool: Xobni

November 1, 2008

The free tool Xobni offers another view on the data of MS Outlook. Instead of using e-mails as the basis, a person is the basic unit. This means that there is a link from every e-mail to an extra toolbar which contains data about this person, the e-mails and files you have shared with them and who are the contacts you have in common.

Why would you use it?

Sometimes it cost a lot of time and effort to find the contact details of a person. Sometimes the e-mails you have exchanged with a person are in several folders and are they hard to find back. Xobni brings these data together in a concise format.

Xobni in detail.

Xobni shows the following data in a concise overview in Outlook:

  • Contact details: name, telephone number, email address, … are retrieved from the signature of an e-mail. There is even a link with LinkedIn to retrieve the picture of this person.
  • Statistics of when you have sent e-mails to this person and when you have received e-mails from this person. This is ideal to see when it is the best time to contact someone.
  • Overview of all exchanged emails with this person.
  • Overview of all exchanged files with this person.
  • Overview of the common network. This is a list of all people who were in cc in one of the e-mails. Most of the times they will know each other, except when you send emails to groups of people who have the same profile or interest, but don’t know each other.

Xobni is a very useful and free tool that can save you a lot of time.

One warning: some people have more than one email address. These are never shown in one overview. So you can still miss emails from someone if you don’t take this into account.

Are you interested in more tools to make your networking and referral life easier? You find an overview of networking and referral tools (English) or netwerk- en referral tools  (Dutch) on the Networking Coach website.

Have a great networking day !


Jan Vermeiren, Founder of Networking Coach and author of the network book Let’s Connect.

%d bloggers like this: