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Networking 101 Lesson 3

What’s in Your Networking Toolbox?

My previous articles on networking described the networking mindset. This month I will discuss the tools you will need in order to be fully prepared for your networking experiences and maximize the value of each networking event for you.

Anticipate what will be needed. Remember that your goal is to find a good networking partner whom you can help and who can help you. Prepare by making it easy for people to help you. Here are the ways you can do that:

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Networking 101 Lesson 2

The underlying reason that networking is effective is that, by making efforts to help your networking partners, you build your relationships. We all prefer to interact with people we know, like, and trust, in business, as well as in all other areas of our lives.

Mistake of the Month: Uncomfortable Introductions

“Hi, I’m Joe. I sell stuff. What do you do?”

People who begin a conversation this way at networking events are uncomfortable and don’t know how to start a conversation. We all feel some pressure to take advantage of the opportunity to meet people. This opener is actually a great opportunity to calm things down and make a good impression. Answer the question if you so choose, but the point is to get to know people, not just what they do. Rather than looking for clients, you are looking for relationships, so change the conversation to something more personal. Take time to get to know them and they will immediately become more relaxed. Try to always remember that, at networking events, you are building relationships, not looking for clients. 

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Networking 101 Lesson 1

(This article is the first in a series of posts, co-written by Douglas Hoffman and long time ALS Client and friend, Lyle Katz. Lyle is a very successful mortgage banker and an expert in the fine art of generating opportunity. Lyle’s experience forms the basis of this series. At the end of each article, there will be an assignment for the next four weeks.)

Let’s start at the beginning with a definition for networking. This is not the usual definition, nor is it “correct” or “definitive.” It is simply the one that we will use for this conversation:

Networking is the deliberate building of a community for sharing information and services among business people. Ultimately, networking is about helping others.

In our experience, many people miss the opportunity allowed by professional and social gatherings.

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