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“Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?” ~~Walt Whitman

Networking is all about fostering relationships, sharing resources, and improving someone else’s life.  Based on that is there ever a time when networking is not appropriate?  If you stay true to the spirit then the short answer is no.  Certainly different venues introduce different degrees but the opportunity to meet others and help them is always available.

Let’s consider the numbers.

If you attend an event each day and meet one new person that is 365 new people.  On average, everyone knows 250 others on a first-name basis.  That is more than 90,000 people.  Powerful access.

It is unlikely you will connect solidly with all 365 so let’s consider one solid connection per month.  12 by the time the year is out.  These people yield nearly 5,000 contacts.

I only point those numbers out to emphasize how much opportunity exists in meeting others.  Therefore, you never have to “sell” to anyone of them.  Rather, focus on helping them.  If you meet thirty the first month, help five, and solidly connect with one everyone benefits.  You never have to worry or wonder about who will be most helpful to you since it doesn’t matter.  Help them.  End of story.

Some of the people you meet are shy.  Draw them out and introduce them to the people you know.  Some are looking for contacts you might have.  If it is appropriate, make the introduction.  The more of this you do the more help you are able to be.  What a wonderful combination!

The key, of course, is to be engaged and available at all times.  Be willing to start conversation.  Be willing to listen.  Be willing to help.  These three skills will carry you a long way.  They are fun to develop and rewarding to experience.

Action Plan for this week.

Take another look at your calendar—starting with last week.  How many events did you attend?  How many contacts did you make?  How much value were you able to add to each of them?

Now, take a look at next week.  How many events are you scheduled for?  Is this enough?  Who is likely to attend?  How can you help them?

This is a good time to create a follow-up system.  Whatever system you use is best.  Here is a simple three-column example:

  1. Event name – list each event.  Include whatever detail cements this in your mind.
  2. Contacts made – list each new (and familiar) person you spoke with.  Again, provide as much detail as needed to jog your memory, when required.
  3. Follow up – this is where the rubber meets the road and you deliver on your promises to help.  If they need an introduction, log that here.  If they will benefit from an article, remark on that here, as well.

In time this activity will become second-nature.  It all starts now, though, so go out and make some new friends.

© 2011 by Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.
All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.

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Written by bniguy

May 22, 2011 at 2:22 am

Posted in business, HowTo, networking

Tagged with ,

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