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3 ways to go from basic networking to super connecting

Whether you want to build relationships with vendors or book more clients, networking is going to play a crucial role.

If you’re someone who stands at a networking event feeling envious of those other people who look super popular and glide around the room effortlessly starting conversations, this advice is for you.

I can guarantee that the most popular and well connected people in the room are following the 3 tips below. And with a bit of practice, you can be one of them!

1. Be genuinely interested

Good networking isn’t about focusing on what you can get from the other person. You’ll just come across as desperate and selfish.

People like it when you’re interested in them. If people like you, they’re much more likely to want to do business with you at some point. You’ll also feel much more relaxed once you change the way you approach networking.

Starting conversations with people because you want to learn more about them is a lot less intimidating than approaching them in order to sell yourself.

Put this into practice: Next time you attend a networking event, play a secret game. Make it your mission to find something interesting out about 3 different people. And the interesting thing can’t be their job!

Top Tip: Don’t start conversations asking people what they do. Ask them what brought them to the event. They will probably tell you their job while answering but this way you’ll be showing more interested in them than what they can do for you.

2. Forget about Sales

This might sound like it’s taking the point out of networking but the truth is – people can tell when you’re trying to sell them something and they don’t like it.

As soon as you take the pressure off – focus on the conversation, not on sales – you’ll find that networking becomes so much easier.

Start by building relationships – all you have to do is be interested in others and be friendly! You never know where these contacts might lead. If you only pay attention to people who are obvious potential clients, you might miss out on opportunities.

The aim of networking is simply to build your network. You can’t get to the next step of leveraging your contacts and network without building them first!

I like to think that each time I meet someone new, I “bank” them in my mental network. I might not need someone who specialises in extreme ironing (just for example…) right now, but you never know what might come up! Plus, you never know who they know…

TRUE STORY:

I attended a networking event where I met a lawyer. We had a great conversation but I she didn’t seem like a potential client or like someone who I could collaborate with in a business sense. Several months later, I bump into her again. This time she’s with her boss. I was surprised that she not only remembered me but had me join them for coffee and raved about me to her boss!

It turns out her boss was exactly the kind of client I was looking for and thanks to my lawyer contact who spoke so highly of me, he wanted to work me!

This would never have happened if at the first event I had only been interested in talking to people I thought was “useful” to me.

3. Connect others

Help others build their network. If you get talking to someone who specialises in eccentric and unusual décor and you already made spoke to a wedding planner across the room who says they’re got a client who is really out of the box – INTRODUCE THEM!

Just say “hey, I think you should really meet X. You guys might be able to collaborate!”

This will make you look AMAZING. All of a sudden, you’ll be the person in the room who has connections and insider knowledge. But all you had to do was connect 2 dots.

This is one of the most powerful ways to take your networking to the next level.

Not only will you look like you’re well connected and gain a good reputation, people will also like you for helping them out and are likely to return the favor…

Have you tried any of these tips?  Comment below and share your thoughts.


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