I was speaking at the same event as Penny Power and as I was on stage directly after her decided to sit in on her session. She was talking about social media and how so many people get it wrong, as they just broadcast rather than take part in a conversation. She likened it to moving in to a new village, popping down to the local pub, opening the door and announcing “I’m an architect” rather than going in and sitting at the bar, buying a drink, getting to know the locals, and then them finding out, in time, that you were an architect. And, it got me thinking.
So many people do just the same when networking. You meet some, in fact lots, at every networking event there is, they just introduce themselves and then say, “I’m an architect; here’s my card.” And that’s about it! You can obviously replace architect with: accountant, solicitor, printer, web designer, business coach, mobile phone supplier. Need I go on?
Well networking is just like social media; it’s about starting a conversation. It’s about building a relationship. It’s certainly not about a quick ‘hit’ and moving on.
If you are going to be a really successful networker, to really benefit from networking, you have to be prepared to make an effort, to really get to know the people you meet, and that takes time.
So, please don’t rush in with “I’m an architect”. Instead ask about the other person, have an interesting question or two to ask, and never ‘push’ your business card. And when they do ask what you do, because they will (it’s the polite thing to do), please don’t say, “I’m an architect”. That’s just so boring! Have something interesting to say, like “I help people to live in the home of their dreams!”.
Start a conversation, agree to meet again, contact each other by email, and build a long term relationship, that if mutually beneficial, will bring far greater rewards than anything a quick ‘hit’ will ever bring.