By now everyone knows the most important way to find new customers, partners, employees, vendors or a job is by networking. If you are not talking to other professionals you are not growing professionally, bottom line. However, networking is not just meeting as many people as possible and hoping something “sticks”. The key is to evolve everyday networking into relationship building.
This is where people who make a good first impression shine. The good news is, you can too by adopting simple tips to set the right tone and put your best foot forward during the initial contact.
Adopt the Right Attitude
We’ve all met the person whose conversation inevitably revolves around them. They can be succinctly described to another colleague by the following sentence; Enough about me, what do you think about me? Don’t be that person.
The key to effective networking is to think of it as “relationship building” and not a “meet and greet” opportunity. The main goal of effective networking is to find out about the person right in front of you, not educate them about you. The opportunity to talk about yourself will present itself eventually but leading off an encounter by spewing out factoids about yourself will not bode well with a new contact.
As Dale Carnegie, states in the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”:
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Approach networking encounters as a way to find out about someone new. When the mindset is adjusted in this direction, the ability to get the conversation started in addition to the beginning of a fruitful relationship is more likely to result.
Don’t Just Meet, Connect
As I state in my book, “The YOU in Business”, networking needs to be viewed as “relationship building”. This is why the initial contact is so important. According to a recent study it only takes 33 to 100 ms for someone to decide if they like you or not. We’ve all heard that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. No truer words have ever been said.
Make sure to follow basic social etiquette to set the right first impression in motion by:
- Making eye contact
- Shaking hands
- Displaying open, friendly body language
Next make sure to establish a strong first encounter by:
- Introducing yourself
- Speaking clearly
- Sitting down when invited to do so
By displaying common courtesy and friendly non-verbal communication during the first moments of the encounter, a positive, relationship-building atmosphere is created.
The best way to think of networking is as people helping people. To make sure networking is approached in this way, I like to think of “A Networker” in the following way:
A = Always has a great attitude
N = Never speaks ill of another human being
E = Enthusiastic, positive and motivated
T = Team player, working for the success of others
W = Winner, never a loser
O = Observant, especially for opportunities for themselves AND especially others
R = Respectful
K = Kind
E = Empathetic
R = Reliable, their word is their bond!
Follow these tips to make the right first impression and you will be well on your way to building lasting relationships with new contacts.
Tim Dimoff Can Help You Evolve Everyday Networking into Relationship Building
Learn how to approach networking as a relationship-building opportunity and not a dreadful “meet and greet” that must be endured to expand your network of contacts. Contact Tim to schedule the The Lost Art of Human Communication to learn techniques to maximize one-on-one communication. You can also order a copy of Tim’s book The YOU in Business to find out more about how to build a strong business from the inside out!