Any successful entrepreneur and business leader knows how important is to make and maintain the right acquaintances. Be it a lawyer, influencer, editor or an investor; each connection is important. Some people are natural at networking. They can walk in to a party or at an event and immediately be the center of attention with all their wit and charm. For a few others, networking may not be as easy and would need a little bit of help to go out and make those rewarding connections.
What’s your plan?
Before you go for a networking event, do a thorough study on who you want to make a connect with. Sometimes you’ll hear the speech of CEO who you think would be the best person to mentor you. But you may not even go up to him and drop a Hi. Worse is when you walk up to him and not make an impression. Here is when a background study helps. The CEO will appreciate the time you took to understand the person. Find common ground, initiate a conversation and get running.
Write down the following and answer them so that you are clear what you need when you go for the next networking forum.
- Who do I want to network with?
- Where will I find them?
- Who can connect me to them?
- What help do I need from each of them?
- Being articulate and to the point is very important to networking.
There is no point in going out and making a connection with everybody out there. Find the five people who are absolutely important to you and invest in those relationships. Time is of essence for an entrepreneur like you. Choose your networking platforms and events wisely.
Truly invest in your relationships
You need to give as much as you can take. When your mentor spends time on your problems, ask how you can pay back. This is how the relationship will grow and mature in the course of time. Also you wouldn’t feel as guilty to ask for help one more time. Take time off to maintain the relationship. Congratulate, share and connect with your existing network.
Pay it forward
This is really how networking grows. Helps others connect as well. When you help someone, it comes right back at you.