Three networking rules (even if you hate networking)


Everyone networks. Whether formally, by attending events, or informally as they go about their day. They meet new people, in person or online, representing opportunities to grow their network, build their business or practice, or advance their career. 

But not everyone gets what they would like out of these encounters. 

If you want meeting new people to be a rewarding experience, there are three rules you should follow: 

  1. Make a friend. That means making the initial contact a pleasant experience for both of you. You exchange pleasantries and contact information, acknowledge anything you have in common, and look for opportunities to follow-up. 
  2. Find out what they want. This is the essence of effective networking. You need to know how you can help them, and how they can help you (and/or your clients). This is likely to take more than one conversation (unless you meet through a formal networking group where this type of exchange is expected), but it is the essence of effective networking.
  3. Find out who they know (before they go). Most encounters with new people don’t bear fruit, for a variety of reasons. Expect it, and find out who they know who might need your services or have clients or contacts who do, or can help your clients get something they want or need. Someone who might be a better connection for you than the person you’ve just met. 

You might hate networking, but you are going to meet new people. Follow these three rules and you may find networking to be fruitful and help you multiply.