INBOX EMAIL MESSAGE:
Hi, let me introduce myself since we haven’t met or connected before. I’m Frank Doe, and I just wrote a great book, Leadership Strategies for Connected Success.
I saw your website and know you’re the perfect person to read my book. I want you to write a review about it on your blog and on Amazon, too. You seem to know about leadership so your help will be important to me.
I’d also like for you to tweet about it, too, since I see you tweet a lot. Thanks for helping me out.
Have you ever received a request like this one?
Am I wrong in feeling this way???
I love to read new books, help people and make a positive difference. However, this style of asking feels like an order a demanding boss would give rather than the first steps in establishing a relationship.
I’m of the school of thought that the purpose of business networking is developing a mutually advantageous relationship with other business people. There’s both an art and a science to getting it right.
What effective networking is
Effective networking is two-way, so both parties engage, share and assist each other. As you work to build your network, start out by giving – share information that may be of value, send a note of praise and/or congratulations or comment on someone’s blog post.
I like to define networking as cultivating mutually beneficial, give-and-take, win-win relationships. ~Bob Burg, co-author The Go Giver
Effective networking is…Building connection
Maybe I’m old-fashioned or out of touch in wanting a connection. Especially so when someone is asking you to read a 300-page book. Connection is about reciprocity, and this request felt totally one-sided.
Effective networking is…Listening intently and authentically
Rapport starts when you ask someone what they do or what they think, and then couple that inquiry with eye contact and active listening to the response. I dislike it when I’m at a business function speaking to a new acquaintance and see their eyes continuing to scan the room for someone else who might be a better contact. Annoying!
Effective networking is…Maintaining the connection.
Exchanging business cards or that first online ‘hello’ is just the beginning of the networking process. Regular outreach is important for nurturing the connection. Call, write or send emails periodically to stay in touch.
Effective networking is…Extending the breadth and depth of your network, appropriately so
Outreach possibilities for forging an effective business network are endless.
- Research professional associations related to your current industry or prospective ones.
- Attend and actively participate in meetings, gatherings, conferences, etc. where you can meet a wide variety of people. You never know who can provide your next referral, lead or job prospect.
- Share your expertise and insights by joining an online discussion group or by participating in social media. It’s a great way to meet people, refine your online communication skills and answer people’s inquiries to showcase how you can bring value to them.
- Volunteering is an excellent venue to both “do good” and to meet people.
Effective networking is…Being strategic in building your network
To ensure that you are getting the right mix of relationships and exposure, include:
- Family and friends – a given!
- People with a large network of their own and who are willing to introduce you to their contacts
- People will who join you in endeavors or spreading your message
- Folks who believe in, and will endorse, you and what you do
- Subject matter authorities in your field whose opinion is widely respected
The way of the world is meeting people through other people. ~Robert Kerrigan
What say you?
What’s the best way to build a thoughtful network that works for everyone involved?
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