I’ll be straight up honest. Networking usually doesn’t work. Think about all the times you networked and all the awkward and forced conversations you had. How many of these networks worked out for you? Rarely, if any. The most difficult type of networking is when you need a job. You are desperate, but you are forced to go out and show your best even when you are at your lowest.
- Get Out Of The Networking Mindset. Stop being a salesperson. Stop pitching. Stop asking. Strive to meet many people, and keep attending events. Always make sincere conversations and don’t be overly focused on adding people to your network list. Focus on having a good conversation. Things will evolve naturally.
- Map Out Your Closest Friends And Colleagues. This is your core group. They will help you much more than a random LinkedIn contact. You know these people well and they know you. Be good to these people. Very good. They will listen to you.
- Be Clear On What You Want. Yes, I told you not to pitch. But if someone asks, you have to have an answer. Develop a clear and succinct pitch to the question “What do you do?” or “What are you looking for?”
- Ask What They Want. You are not the only one who needs a job, sale or a customer. Other people attend events for the same reason as you. Try to gauge what they are looking for and try to set them up with a contact they may need. Guarantee they will remember you next time ‘round.
- Do Not Be Dismissive. Status, title, wealth. Some people have it, most people don’t. It doesn’t matter. Enter relationships with a clean heart.
- Build Your Network Before You Need It. Network building is a long term play. You need to gently plant the seed before anything grows.
- Follow Through. If you promised to connect someone to another person, you better do it. Don’t break your promises. The only thing that matters is your reputation. Keep that intact.
Remember, networking is a long term play. Keep conversations genuine and authentic. Also keep in touch when you don’t need anything.