We all network, in some way, whether it’s a chat down the supermarket or at the football match, at the hairdressers, having a coffee etc. And we network for different reasons. 10 tips or suggestions here.
1. Be passionate – about yourself, your work and the company you represent
2. Set a goal – i.e. plan and prepare before attending events. Ask yourself what do you want to achieve from this event?
3. Don’t butt in on other people’s conversations. If someone is deep in conversation hover respectfully then say ‘Hi, I am or I’d like to meet you.’
4. Don’t think ‘What’s in it for me’ but ‘what’s in it for the other person, who might you connect them with?’
5. Follow up to build trust, do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’ll do it
6. Don’t hear ‘no’ only ‘not yet’ – spot opportunities for the future. 7. Be patient – it takes time to build relationships and let people to do business with you.
8. Ask open questions – by doing this you get better answers and create more business opportunities. Listen actively – we learn nothing by talking, only by listening. Know when to talk, when to listen.
9. Don’t use 50 shades of ‘really’. Indicate sincere interest or make a plausible excuse to move on. Sadly some people are boring, only interested in themselves, or just rude and bear in mind some people are new to this networking and are nervous which makes them all of the aforementioned.
10. Enjoy yourself. If you don’t, think about what was going on. Take a fly on the wall position. Was it the venue? Was it the format? What was it? Next time, do something different or try out a different format. Or network online and then meet individuals in a safe and public place for one to one networking.
I was at an event not long ago, where a guy told me what he did and said ‘I don’t suppose you’d be interested in what I do.’ Aha I thought’ really? How do you know?’ I then asked him if he could recommend someone to me who would provide a certain service based on what he had said, he replied ‘oh all the guys I know would be too busy, look in yellow pages’. There ended the conversation.
I would also like to add something one of my associates said too me once ‘if you network and hand your card to people, then expect them to contact you and when they do be respectful, throwing your toys out the pram because you’re on someone’s mailing list could potentially lose you a referral or future business’. Otherwise in the words of Daniel Priestley all you have done is collected a heap of business cards; you need to make networking work.
If you want help or ideas on language to get other people to understand you better or for you to understand them better, or help on confidence or presenting yourself to others – please contact us 01309 676004, 01224 900748, 07796 134081. http://www.developingworks.com
8 Make small concessions, one at a time, and always get something in return – give nothing away for free.
9 Trade concessions using “If…then…”
10 Build clear and unambiguous agreements by asking “What if…”
11 Make the process enjoyable – if the task is stuck change the subject. (The person with the most flexibility in any interaction will get the best result.)
12 Resolve deadlock by finding out what the other party’s concerns are and understanding the concerns.
13 You cannot negotiate a complaint; ask for what you want.
14 Written numbers appear more real than spoken numbers. This is an illusion.
2 Always take time to gather information along the way, to consider and reflect, and allow the other person time to finish what they are saying and to consider and reflect. Hurrying will achieve nothing.
3 Invite the other party to put down the first marker, and then wait.
4 Never accept a first offer, especially if it’s claimed to be the final offer.
4 Aim high and ask for what you want simply and in assured manner.
6 Maintain your position by using a restriction; this can be practical, financial or something you believe to be true.
7 Avoid goodwill concessions, these actually make things harder.
Another 7 next week!
Knowing what you want – having outcomes
Noticing what you are getting – using your senses
Keeping changing what you are doing – being flexible
1. Have your outcomes set for each section of content. Check – are there outcomes for: you, your team, your department, the organisation, or anyone else involved? Ensure that the outcomes and evidence are sensory based – that means – what you will see, hear and feel when you have this outcome. It might seem tedious to check each of these senses out and with each person, but just because you see things one way, another person may have a gut feeling about the matter in hand and yet another will want to check you are singing from the same hymn sheet. A little time spent on this at this point will save nasty surprises later. For a team meeting write the outcomes down and keep them highly visible (e.g. on a flipchart), so that amendments or additions can be made on the chart – post-notes and different coloured pens really useful here.
2. Gather other people’s outcomes and assure that everyone is happy about which outcomes are the priorities for this meeting. Check this out by looking at each person in turn and if their eyes move away from you or they appear to be making some kind of face, they are most probably thinking, so give them time before you move on. Only move on when you have a clear yes or no from each person. Again this saves time in the long run.
3. Set the time frames for the meeting. Ensure that each person involved gets a chance to say what they need to say in their allotted time, again give them time to do this, but see next sentence. Do not allow any one person to monopolise all of the time. If necessary, interrupt them politely and bring the meeting back on track.
4. Check at regular intervals what is happening for you, for other people, and for the meeting process. Check by looking, watching, and listening (your gut feeling may not be as reliable as you would like it to be).
5. Watch for red herrings (things that are irrelevant) and ask the following ‘relevancy challenge’ type of question, “Excuse me, I’m not clear how the issues you are raising are helping us to achieve our outcome?”
6. If any member of the team is repeatedly blocking the process of achieving the meeting’s outcomes by raising ‘cannots or buts’, an easy way to keep the responsibility with them is by asking questions like, “What would have to happen for us to be able to…?”. This keeps the responsibility for solving problems with the person who is raising them and enables the person you have questioned to perhaps “think out of the box.”
7. Summarise decisions and intended action plans for each stage of the meeting.
8. Have each person internally rehearse their next action steps by going through what they are going to do by acting ‘as if’ they are seeing it happening, talking themselves through the steps and actually putting the steps into action. If there are any concerns, go back and check that the outcome is stated in the positive, that it is specific, that the way it might affect other people, other areas of work has been checked, what evidence there will be that the outcome has been achieved and what each person has to do themselves.
9. Finally, summarise all the next action steps, with a completion date and person specified to be responsible for the action. Confirm the date for the next meeting
1) Address the person by name.
Even in an email and start with a greeting, so Hi, Hello, Good Morning, or even that to some people outdated Dear. Why you might ask? Well the person then feels like a person and not a thing. Plus at times being addressed by your First name in a short, sharp email can come across as a rebuke (55% of the people you are communicating with are predominately Visual) – they see and what they can at times see is Fred blah, blah. And even not in emails when your colleague or significant other is deep in thought addressing them by name, means it opens the file in their head that switched the part of their brain on that says ‘oh a communication with me’. How many times have you been interrupted when deep in thought?
2) Make sure they are on your page
Make sure you are both on the same page, both thinking about the same thing. This burning question or thought in your mind my well not be the most important thought in their mind. (We can only concentrate on seven plus or minus two things at a time and there are thousands it not millions of things going on in and around us (consider how many bits of information your body itself needs to keep you standing or sitting). So you’ve started with ‘Hi Fred,’ and instead of saying something like ‘I noticed at the other day your priorities have changed’ (because Fred’s priorities from the other day will be different today unless he’s a slug intent on eating your lettuce and Fred will have no idea what you are talking about). Say Fred on Wednesday I noticed you were doing such and such, last year when we spoke you told me you weren’t going to do that anymore, has something happened to change your priorities.’ In all kinds of conversations this really works and saves endless hassle on both sides. (It also saves Fred from telling you his wife is having an affair, when actually what you mean was he had said he was going to try out contact lenses.) Also more here on Words (and Wheelbarrows)
3) Have Rapport
The best way to communicate with another person is to first synchronise yourself with some aspect of their behaviour (match/mirror/pace it) and then change yourself (to leading the conversation). However, it is important to check that the other person wants to go where you are leading, so you need a “shared outcome” or you aren’t going to get to where you want or need to be. You can also ‘meet them at their bus stop’, in them in their reality (that’s a little like when we all complain about the weather). Talk at their pace, keep at an appropriate distance from them, not in their space, smile and at least point your body in their direction.
4) Believe in yourself
If you don’t believe in you, no one else will do and being congruent so your head and how you feel being in line with what you are going to say works best. If you need some help with confidence, find a good NLP Trainer or the like who will help you with this, by means of a simple technique.
5) Have an outcome in mind
What do you want from this interaction? Just to get to know them? Just to introduce yourself? To get their details? Will you follow up? Whatever you do you are selling yourself, people come back to people they like and trust.
6) Listen to what they say
Listen and repeat back some of their words, not what you think they said. Be interested, if you’re not interested in what they are talking about, you will know someone who will be and you want them to be interested in you. Surely you do, or do you want them to tell someone else, ‘yes I met so and so and they don’t listen.’
7) Smile and remember to say good bye
As you move on and tell them how much you enjoyed speaking to them.
Curious about more please contact me +44 (0)7796 134081, +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004 or take a look Developing Works to find out how this would work for you individually or for your team, or to employ the right people for your company.