This Magic Monday, we’re taking a different approach to networking, and instead of seeing what we can get out of it, we’re learning what we can put into it.
Networking can be a bit of a scary concept for some of us. A picture of vulnerability, “putting yourself out there,” or even “selling yourself” – none of which sounds very appealing. The reality is that if we’re looking at networking as something to benefit ourselves, we have got networking completely wrong.
Ivan Misner, described as the “Father of Networking” by CNN, lists the top 7 most valuable behaviors of positive networking in this article – and they are anything but self-centered.
1. Be a good listener.
In the very first step, the focus is on the other person. What do they enjoy about the things they’re currently doing, and what sorts of challenges might they now be facing?
2. Develop a positive attitude.
It may not come naturally at first, but developing small habits like keeping a gratitude journal or taking a moment to thank someone can go a long way towards building a positive outlook.
3. Collaborate to serve others.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This saying especially aligns for us at Centric with our core purpose of creating unmatched experiences for clients and employees – and is the furthest you can get from “selfish.”
4. Be sincere and authentic.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know but let me find out.” Sincerity is being free from pretense or deceit. And being authentic means that when you tell someone, “I care,” there is no doubt that you do.
5. Follow up.
Don’t promise things when you can’t follow up. Before you commit to a task, pause a moment and make an honest assessment of your current work and priorities. Reliability is a carefully honed skill – and consequently highly prized.
6. Prove your trustworthiness.
Even if you mess up and aren’t going to meet that deadline or make that commitment, being sincere and authentic and following up with your communication and expectations will prove your trustworthiness. And if you can build that for even the little things, you’ll suddenly find others will more readily offer further opportunity.
7. Be approachable.
Body language is key here. Even in a virtual-first environment, looking into instead of away from the camera to simulate direct eye contact and adopting a relaxed, open posture on screen will go a long way. In person, this means not standing with your arms crossed which can indicate you are “closed” to the conversation, and keeping your eyes up and alert, making it easier for others to recognize you are ready and willing to connect.
If we approach networking from the standpoint of “What can I bring to this relationship?” instead of “What can I get from this relationship?” the results will rarely disappoint. Who will you connect with this week?