Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill
There are many different types of networkers, but they will generally fall into the following categories – “active”, “accidental” or a very few that are “strategic”. All take a different approach to networking and will see very different outcomes as a result of their networking efforts.
Let’s take a look at the difference between the three.
Active networkers, as the name suggests, are very active in networking circles. They belong to multiple networking groups, attend as many events as they can, and invite and refer others to the events they think will benefit them. They tend to be quite assertive and take the time to talk to everyone at the events they attend.
On the other hand, an accidental networker has a more blasé and relaxed attitude towards networking. They attend meetings and events if it suits, and if they can’t make it, they don’t stress out about it. They are polite, and make conversation when the opportunity arises, but they don’t look for opportunities or blurt out their sales pitches to whoever is in earshot (not that that’s a good thing!).
Accidental networkers also don’t follow up with the contacts they make as diligently as active networkers. They figure if someone wants to contact them, they will be in touch. They spend less time preparing for events and prefer to just ‘wing it’ and go with the flow.
The best of the bunch and yet the one I come across least is a strategic networker. Someone who spends more time preparing for their events than most people. They prepare and plan what they will say, who they will use as testimonials and who they will refer. They take the time to research others who are likely to be at the events they attend, and zone in on the people they want to meet. They make introductions, ask for introductions, and always follow up at the right time in the right way.
So which category do you fall into? And which one yields the best results?
In my humble opinion, strategic networking works best. I think you can waste a lot of time and money networking – especially if it’s not aligned to the results you need. When you prepare well, put in 100% effort, speak to key people and follow up, you are more likely to be remembered, contacted and recommended.
Remember, like most soft skills, networking can be learned and improved.
Please join us to be more strategic and reap the rewards networking can provide to you, enroll in one of our networking workshops today.
Julia Palmer, a respected Networking Strategist and Chief Executive of the Business Networking Academy, presenting and training on how to create and manage networks that work. To learn more visit www.juliapalmer.com & www.BusinessNetworkingAcademy.com.au