Networking is building and cultivating relationships with new and old contacts. In this business of life it is all about “who you know”. To get to that point it is extremely important to remember it has nothing to with you. In fact, it is all about them. The goal is to make a best friend within a few meetings at most. Listen and responding is a learned skill along with giving your time to people to help build and cultivate relationships. Building is adding people to your circle of contacts and cultivating is taking those relationships from “hello” to “let’s get lunch!” These below tools will increase relationship opportunities and take those relationships to another level.
• If them, then you : They will always be more important than you in any situation. A relationship is built on giving your ear, time, and ability to add to that relationship. Take a moment to understand what they are saying, why they are saying it, and where to take that conversation. Before you add a bit about you, keep it on them. If the conversation is directed to you then answer the question but bring it back to the other person as clean and smoothly as you can. A best friend is that person you know will be there for you, listen to your problems and not always have a solution but can add insight: be a best friend.
• Worth of the worthy : Even if there were two of you, there is no possible way to build and cultivate your relationships with everyone in your niche. True, you must always remain kind to everyone as you never know who someone is or knows, but ultimately understand the value of the people in and around you. Take time to organize who you know and why you know them. How can you add to their life and they to yours. With that information you can organize who to give more time to than others. Though I recommend giving everyone time, even if a small hello every once in a while.
• Meet the niche : Give yourself time to mingle out in the world. You have the obvious places to meet and greet within your field of interest. Parties, gatherings, events, award shows, and causal hanging out with people. An actor might want to spend time at theatre shows and a musician at concerts. Maybe spend time getting to know the club owners so you can hang out with bigger named musicians. After all, if you want to be a successful musician you must hangout with successful musicians. In addition, try places outside the field: Cooking class, gulf, seminars, etc.
• Be social on social media : When time keeps you from setting up lunches and coffee meet ups everyday all day, you can respond to people’s lives on social media. Be seen, be present, is a key to marketing and a seeding method in networking. They see you interacting, or spreading the value of your brand throughout your social media network, then it will lead them to you and your website. It will lead them to remember a conversation you had. It will allow them easier access to be heard as well. Keep your thoughts positive and focused on getting involved in their life, even if on social media.