Skilled networking is a method that anyone can follow. No one is a natural-born networker.
Nobody likes being sold to. Nobody likes feeling used. But that's exactly what comes to mind when we talk about networking. For most people, it feels fake and schmoozy. That's why nobody likes networking.
Here's the thing. Networking is not about what other people can do for you. Networking is about understanding what you can do for others. It is about making yourself available to help. And it starts by showing up.
Here are 5 steps to follow to become a great networker. Anyone can practice and become highly proficient at these skills.
5 STEPS TO BECOME A SKILLED NETWORKER
None of these are inherently difficult on their own but the trick is to do them all together. A successful interaction includes all of these.
- STEP 1: SAY YES — The next time that someone invites you somewhere, say yes. The next time that you get asked to do a small project with a new team, say yes. The next time that you get an opportunity to meet someone new, say yes. If it's a stretch and slightly out of your comfort zone, that's a telltale sign to say yes.
- STEP 2: SHOW UP — Keep your commitments. Don't be late. Be reliable. It is always easier to find a reason to get out of doing something than to show up. Showing up is the hardest part but it sets everything else into motion.
- STEP 3: SUIT UP — Mentally prepare yourself for the event. Do your homework. Figure out who's going to be there and take the time to learn something about them in advance.
- STEP 4: FOLLOW UP — In every social intersection, there is always an exchange of ideas and commitments and your job is to pay attention to what those are and to follow up on them. Maybe you offered to make an introduction. Perhaps you found common overlap on a shared interest — maybe it was a book, a recipe, travel advice, anything. Take the time to follow up on it. If you mentioned the book, send it. If they did, read it. And don't forget to log your notes into your personal CRM System. This is your opportunity to create an energetic bond.
- STEP 5: MOVE IT FORWARD — Keep the momentum and figure out a way that you can help or be of service. Check in at a later date. Make introductions. Share articles on your mutual interests. Congratulations! You're well on your way to turning this random contact into a friendship.
Follow these 5 steps and invest time and energy into helping those around you. Sooner or later, people will refer to you as being well connected and a good networker. It grows exponentially from there.