your business card

What to Do When Someone Refuses to Take Your Business Card

Imagine handing your business card to someone at a networking event and having it handed back to you with, “Thanks, but I don’t need your card.”  How would you respond in this situation?

Business Card Etiquette 

  • I do not recommend giving someone your business card right away when you first meet them. I would wait until after you have had a good conversation with them. Listen to them talk about their business. Ask questions about how you could help them. Then, ask yourself if you believe that you have made a good connection.  Think about if you can help their business, or if they can help you with your business.  Decide if you are willing to build a strong relationship with them. If yes, I recommend asking the person if they would like to receive your business card because unsolicited cards are rarely kept.
  • A business card is a tacit invitation to make a future connection.  How you handle that connection afterward will determine how responsive your new contact will be.  So be respectful with what you do after someone gives you their card. Set a date to follow up with them. Find their preferred method to be contacted, then use it.
  • You should always have plenty of business cards with you when networking.  It still amazes me that people go to networking events and knowingly don’t bring cards with them. Bring business cards.  It is a “networking” event.
  • Just passing out your cards and collecting cards from others at a networking event is not networking — it’s card collecting — which is not a profitable way to build your business. Networking is about having conversations with people and making good enough connections that you can actually follow up with people. If you don’t make a meaningful connection, you might as well still be cold calling, no matter how many business cards you collect.
  • It is good manners to ask permission to add someone’s email to your distribution list. Unsolicited emails are rarely kept and can quickly lead to your email address being registered as spam. If you did not request the email newsletter, then reply with a request to be unsubscribed from their distribution list. If they ignore your request, use your spam filter. I use it regularly with unwanted emails.

Refusing to take someone’s offered card is just plain bad manners. What do you do if this happens to you?  Realize that some people just have little or no people skills and move on to someone who does.

purposeful meal

Using a Purposeful Meal as a Networking Opportunity

So, what exactly is a purposeful meal meeting? A purposeful meal meeting is nothing more than a meeting that includes a meal and a specific, meaningful purpose. And the specific purpose I want to talk about today is networking. These meetings are strategic and results-oriented with a specific purpose for the meal together.

A Purposeful Meal Provides High Value For Your Invested Time

  • It’s not a break from work. It’s a way to build a strong relationship with each other.
  • It’s not a time to have three martinis. It’s a time to teach three things about your business.
  • It’s not a romantic date. It’s a way to introduce your colleague to a potential new client.
  • It’s not about critiquing new restaurants. It’s a way to help a colleague solve their problems.

Let’s begin by considering the average workweek of five days. There are three main meals that could be eaten per day. Barring the usual hindrances to daily scheduling, this gives you 15 opportunities each week to have a purposeful meal meeting. That’s 780 opportunities in a year. Now, dining with 780 people could not only put a hole in your pocket, but it could tear a hole in some of your personal relationships as well. Let’s be realistic…imagine what your significant other would begin to think if instead of eating the majority of your meals with them, you were out eating each meal with a different person. You certainly don’t want to stay away from home so much that your children and/or pets no longer recognize you. So, let’s say half of your meals are spent eating with your family-you still have an estimated 390 opportunities for purposeful meal meetings.

Keith Ferrazzi: Build Trust by Breaking Bread

This level of networking increases his productivity and helps him connect with people from different parts of his community. Ferrazzi believes that his strongest links have been forged at the table. He has learned how powerful the art of throwing a dinner party can be in creating memories and strengthening relationships. Something magical and companionable happens when friends break bread together.

Ferrazzi is quick to mention, however, that if you continue to have dinner parties with the same people, your circle will never grow. His solution is to identify and invite “anchor tenants” to your party. These are people who are related to your core group but who know different people, have experienced different things, and thus have much to share. They tend to be the people who have had a positive influence on your friends’ lives. It’s akin to inviting the CEO to the manager’s table, as Ferrazzi says. Soon, other executives will want to be there.

More Than Just a Dinner Party

I had the opportunity to experience one of Keith’s networking parties firsthand, and the anchor guest that night was the legendary author Gore Vidal. Providing the entertainment was America’s oldest collegiate a cappella group, the Whiffenpoofs of Yale!

Not all of us will be able to get a celebrity of Gore Vidal’s status and the Whiffenpoofs at our networking party, but I’m guessing that Keith didn’t have them at his first party either. However, the strategy is sound, and I encourage you to try out the concept as a way of building your visibility in the community. Keith has paid close attention to how a meal can most appropriately be leveraged for a business networking opportunity. The primary focus should always be on developing the relationship. Learning about each other, helping one another with problems, and giving of ourselves – that’s what defines a purposeful meal meeting.

Why not start now – begin to plan some purposeful meal meetings or dinner parties where you can make memorable beneficial connections. Do you have any stories about purposeful meal meetings or dinner parties where you made memorable, beneficial connections?  If so, I’d love to hear your story–please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

Networking

Networking In-Person, Online, or a Blend?

In 2017, I was sitting in the back of a senior leadership meeting for BNI.  The group was talking about the future of the organization and what we saw ahead of us as opportunities and challenges.  Someone from the group looked over at me and said, “you’re the Founder & Chief Visionary Officer, what do you see for the future of the company?”  I stood in the room and boldly said that because of advancements in mixed reality and holographic technologies, I thought the future of networking was likely to be online.  While I thought that would raise eyebrows – instead, it raised voices.  “No way,” was the overwhelming chorus of voices in response to my proclamation. The pushback was almost complete (with the exception of a few of the millennials in the room).

“Really?” asked one incredulous participant.  “Really, you’re the Founder of the world’s largest in-person networking organization and you honestly think that we will transition to online!?”   “Never,” said another person in the room. “I can’t believe that you would think that.” 

I re-learned a valuable lesson that day – when you have a bold vision, don’t just blurt it out.  Instead, ease people into that vision.  People aren’t receptive to massive change at first, they need to be eased into that change whenever possible [see The Cat’s on The Roof blog to see how to do that].

Recognizing the error of my ways, over the next year I began to talk at company events about disruption and how companies could become complacent in the delivery of their services and how they sometimes don’t see the train coming down the tracks at them. I spoke about Kodak, Sears, and Blockbuster as examples of what happens if a company is complacent with their operations.  I hoped that these stories would get them thinking about how we might be disrupted if we were not careful.  I later wrote about this type of disruption on Entrepreneur.com after I had been talking about it for well over a year.

In December 2018, I wrote another article for Entrepreneur about the change that I saw coming in networking organizations, a change like the one I suggested a year earlier that caused such a vocal reaction when I brought it up.  I re-introduced this concept more than a year after I first blurted it out because I felt that I had laid the groundwork more effectively over the previous year.  It was my formal prediction in this article that the future of face-to-face meetings would be online.  Over time, I referred people in my organization to these two articles to help prepare them mentally for what I believed to be coming. Granted, I foresaw this development because of the emergence of technology and not a virus, but I saw it coming, nonetheless.

In mid-January of 2020, I was at a mastermind event where we were doing an exercise lead by Kian Gohar, Founder of Geolab. It was his “Moonshot Exercise.”   In it, he asked us to create a vision that we wanted to be embraced within our organization.  My vision was that by the end of 2020, the senior management of our company would see the inevitable fact that the future of networking would be, at least in part, online.  Little did I know that by the end of that very month, we would embrace that vision.

Credit needs to go to the CEO of BNI, Graham Weihmiller, who saw that Covid was going to be a far bigger problem in the world than anyone else in our organization thought (or people from most organizations for that matter).   By the end of January, he had transitioned some of BNI in Asia to online.  By February, he had transitioned much of Europe and by March of 2020, he, the franchisees, members, and the Global Support Team, had transitioned the entire organization to online.  This was no small feat.  In January of 2020, the company had 9,700 networking groups that were meeting in-person, every week!  By March of 2020, we had over 9,700 groups meeting online every week!  This was a pivot of monumental proportions.

Since that time, the company has added more than 400 additional chapters bringing the total number of networking groups to over 10,100 world-wide.  Virtually all of these groups were meeting online for most of 2020.  What seemed completely unfathomable to most people a couple of years earlier became the norm in just two years.

The question now within the company is – “what does the future hold for meetings going forward?”  The answer to that question has not been settled but it is under discussion.  That process has begun with a survey of over 2,300 members from around the world asking them if they would like their networking meetings to be:

1) In Person Only,

2) Online Only, or

3) A Blend of Online and In Person Meetings.

As you can see in the results below, one third of the participants of this survey wanted to go back completely to “In Person” Meetings.  However, 16% wanted to stick with “Online Meetings Only, and a whopping (considering the attitude just two years prior) of almost 51% of the survey respondents were in favor of a blend of meeting both in-person, and online.

Networking

What was unthinkable to most leaders in the organization just a few years earlier was now very possible for two thirds of the people surveyed by the organization.

Because of the continuous advancements in technology, the move to online networking meetings was inevitable.  The spread of Covid simply expedited the imminent disruption that lay ahead.

Lead the disruption or be disrupted.  That is the mantra that entrepreneurs must embrace to survive in the 21st century.  For networking groups, that means that it is time to embrace the inevitable transition to meeting online.  That said, I do believe that a blended approach is perfect at this time. For most businesspeople, meeting in person and shaking someone’s hand (when it is safe for us to do that again) has no online equivalent.

What are your thoughts about these ideas?

Has online networking been effective for you and your business?

your C.P.A.

Do Not Allow Your C.P.A. To Ruin Your Business

We are living in a world more connected than ever. However, this hyperconnectivity can create situations when your C.P.A. can effect your business. Working from home can easily lead to a state of “Continuous Partial Attention” (your C.P.A.). This occurs when people are only partially paying attention to others during their online networking or Zoom meetings.  There are some definite pitfalls in our hyper-connected world when we are not giving our full attention to others. Your business relationships and networking may be affected because of your C.P.A. in these three situations.

Monitor your C.P.A. when attending your online networking meetings

Continuous partial attention can hamper your relationship-building efforts – on both a personal and professional level. When attending an online function of any type, it is becoming increasingly common to find people typing away during the meeting. They remain connected to their emails and social media networks during their meeting. This desire can dilute our efforts by driving us to stay “live” online with other things instead of with the person in front of us. You can easily watch them on camera not paying attention to the meeting. Even worse, they fall asleep in their recliner during the online Zoom meeting with their camera live for all to see until they are awoken by another chapter member calling their phone.

Keep your C.P.A. away from your phone 

Speaking of phones. We have probably all experienced being in conversation with someone at an in-person networking function and getting pinged during the conversation. This is happening much more now during online meetings. When we take our attention off what is happening in front of our nose to take a look at what is happening on our phone, we lose the connection with the person who is presenting. We will not remember this part of the conversation well, if at all. And we send a subtle message to this person that he or she does not matter as much as the various pings coming in on our mobile device do.

Our desire to connect and be connected is one of the strengths of business networking. Therefore, when doing online networking, or when we return to in-person events, we will want to effectively be connecting with others. Over the years, I saw people many times on their phones texting during networking meetings, such as at a BNI chapter meeting, a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, or even a gala dinner event.

Be honest: whom do you greet first when you get up in the morning — your spouse, kids, the dog, OR your virtual community? Do you reach for your phone before you even throw your legs out of bed to get up? I have found myself doing that. Consider waiting to look at your mobile phone until after you are ready to receive messages. For me, I wait to turn it on until after I am up, have exercised, showered, and had my breakfast. Furthermore, I think social media is great. I use it regularly to stay in touch and build relationships. But knowing when to focus on your networking and not your phone is extremely important in this digital age.

Do not allow your C.P.A. to distract you when working online

Most of us work from our computers, laptops, or tablets with notifications switched on. Our email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Teams, and WeChat accounts are sending us notifications. Across your screen, they distract you with their messages. “Look at me! Someone retweeted you! Someone wants to be your Friend!” Even people who do not have ADD are working in a state of attention deficit due to the distraction all these notifications cause.

It is very easy to lose track of whom you have just followed up with. You end up sending your follow-up email twice. You reference something you were discussing with someone else. Worse yet, you send an email to the wrong person entirely. (Who hasn’t done that?) Continuous partial attention keeps you from being alert, attentive, and focused and can hamper your post-event follow up not to mention your day-to-day activities.

Don’t allow your C.P.A. to ruin your business. Continuous partial attention can hamper your efforts to build profitable business relationships with the people you want to connect with. I believe a price is being paid by how this constant connectedness is affecting our real-time relationships. The truth is that our brains are not capable of multi-tasking. Brains don’t work like a computer, which can have many programs running simultaneously. Our minds have to switch among tasks. Some of us can task-switch extremely quickly, seemingly multi-tasking, but we are not actually multi-tasking. Others of us task-switch with a little more difficulty, making it extremely challenging to really pay sustained attention to anything when we try to multi-task.

Frog

The Networking Frog and The Networking Prince

In generating referrals for your business online, you want to network more with a prince and less with a frog. You will kiss a few frogs at first before finding good referral sources. Someday, your prince will come. How can you be sure that you are a networking prince or princess and not a frog?

The Characteristics of The Networking Frog

  • Always asking for referrals, introductions, and favors but rarely reciprocates
  • Does not ask about your business, goals, and ideal customers
  • Often reschedules the appointment
  • Does not return your phone calls and emails
  • Rarely goes out of the way to help you
  • Inconvenienced when complying with your request for assistance
  • Talks excessively about their business
  • Rarely asks you questions and does not listen
  • Quickly turns the conversation back to their business.
  • Their attention is not focused on you with continued eye contact

Make sure that you are not a “Networking Frog” by displaying these characteristics when networking online. Just do the opposite of what a frog does to become a Networking Prince (or Princess).

A Great Example of The Networking Prince

Jerry is always giving referrals and making introductions for his referral partners, many times before they even ask. Jerry is constantly going out of his way to help people with their businesses because he has invested the time and energy to learn what his referral partners are looking for in a potential client. When you talk to Jerry, you feel listened to — he maintains eye contact and focuses on you. You almost have to force him to share about his business and how you can help him. You can count on Jerry to follow up on referrals you send him promptly, and he returns your calls and emails within a day or two. If you run into Jerry at a networking event, he’s greeting new people with a smile, introducing them to others, and just being generally helpful. After an encounter with Jerry, you feel like royalty!

Identifying if someone is a networking prince or frog can be difficult in your first meeting. It takes time to discover someone’s networking nature. Therefore, know and look out for the characteristics of a networking frog. Sometimes networking frogs pretend to be royalty at online networking events. Their scales and warts reveal themselves later in follow-up interactions with them. While networking online, you will kiss a few frogs before finding the true princes (and princesses). Just make sure that you are not being a Networking Frog yourself. Pattern your networking skills after my friend Jerry, and you will become known far and wide, throughout the land, as networking royalty.

fear

Frozen by Fear or Focused by Fear

The time you focus upon your networking efforts will improve on the connections that you would like to turn into stronger relationships. Take the time to reach out to your closest colleagues and see how they are doing. Find out if there is anything you can do to help them. You may not be able to help everyone but you can help someone. Talk to them about how you are doing and ask for help that you think they may be able to provide. It may be moral support or it may be referrals to assist your business.

I don’t know what our future holds but I do know that we can influence it and the best way to influence it is to embrace the relationships that you’ve established over the years. Today, more than ever, you need your network. You need people around you to help and support you. You can get frozen by your fear, or focused by your fear, and your network is a beacon of hope in a sea of fear.
Networking Quotient

Build Your Referability Degree and Networking Quotient

Today’s guest blog is an extract from the book, “Networking Quotient” by my good friends and BNI® Leaders, Paulo Corsi and YP Lai, about two immensely powerful measurements that determine the ability of your network to generate business for you, your Networking Quotient and your Referability Degree.

As a networker, have you ever asked yourself how effective your network is in bringing business referrals? And have you ever pondered which strategy will bring you better results? Should you expand your network and get to know more people? Should you build a deeper relationship with the people who are already in your network? Well, the secret to getting the answers is being able to measure your network. That sounds simple, right? However, what is the right measurement to use? The size of your network? The depth of your network? Or perhaps something else?

Let me introduce you to two powerful measurements that determine the ability of your network to generate business for you.

Your Referability Degree

The Referability Degree points out how much of your network is working for you. However, it does not tell you if your network has the right size to generate more business opportunities for you.

The Referability Degree is calculated by dividing the number of contacts in your network who have given you a referral in the last six months and dividing this number by the total number of contacts you have. (e.g., 30 people that gave you referrals / 100 people in your network gives you a Referability Degree of 30%).

  • If you have a Referability Degree of 50% or less:

Your focus should be on developing better relationships with the people who do not regularly give you business referrals. Through nurturing the relationship, you will teach them how to generate referrals for you. At the same time, you will be learning ways on how to create value and bring referrals for the other person and develop a long-term mutually beneficial relationship.

  • When your Referability Degree is above 50%:

You are ready to expand your network. As you expand your network, you should simultaneously strengthen the relationship so that both parties can bring good quality business referrals for each other.

Imagine a person that has a Referability Degree of 90% – which is exceedingly high. However, the size of the network is only 10 people. This indicates that he has deep relationships with his existing contacts but has only an extremely limited network. In this scenario, he must expand his network to more people. A network of 10 people will not be sufficient to create a constant flow of opportunities for him.

Your Networking Quotient

The Networking Quotient is simply the number of people that have given business referrals to you in the past 6 months.

For a continual flow of business by referrals, it is recommended to have a Networking Quotient of at least 100. This means having an active community of at least 100 people that you are constantly in contact with, build rapport with and know how to bring you good quality referrals. Building up your Networking Quotient takes time, and with constant practice, it will become your daily habit.

“Networking Quotient”

Networking Quotient  Paulo Corsi and YP Lai in their book, “Networking Quotient”, share in detail how to calculate the Referability Degree and the Networking Quotient. And more importantly, they share proven strategies to build your Referability Degree and your Networking Quotient.

The eBook / Kindle version of “Networking Quotient” is on sale for $1.99 until 11 pm (PDT) TONIGHT – April 1st, 2021.

 Download the eBook version of “Networking Quotient” today.

 

“Work Less Earn More”

Work Less Earn More

Accompanying the Networking Quotient book, YP Lai has written another book, “Work Less Earn More” about the 10 proven strategies to be wealthier, healthier & happier.

This book acts as a guide for busy entrepreneurs to get their lives into harmony, ensuring that while they are in pursuit of material wealth to provide for the family, they also focus on other important things in life like health, fitness, and happiness.

The eBook / Kindle version of “Work Less, Earn More” is on sale for 99¢ on Amazon until 11 pm (PDT) on April 2nd, 2021.

Download the eBook version of “Work Less Earn More” today.

cannot remember

I’m sorry, I cannot remember your name

What do you do when you meet someone and you cannot remember their name? That can be embarrassing. I have observed this many times over the years during networking events. I have also observed the different ways others have dealt with forgetting someone’s name. Some have just faked it by engaging in a conversation hoping to get a clue. They try to remember where the other person was from or how they knew them. On the other hand, I have heard people come right out and say, “Hey, I’m sorry I forgot your name” or “I’m sorry I do not remember where you’re from”.

In this video, I share a story from one of my blog readers which describes a scenario of this very nature and I answer his question of what I would have done if I were in the same sticky situation.

What not to do when you cannot remember a name

If it happens to you, I recommend that you do not say, “I’m sorry, I forgot your name” or “I don’t remember where you’re from”. I have found that people sometimes take it personally that you can’t remember them. No reason to embarrass yourself and embarrass them because you don’t know who they are. They might begin to avoid you because you did not recognize them earlier.

Finally, you do not want to say, “Nice to meet you”. Even if you do not remember meeting the person, they clearly know you, so you are most likely not “meeting them” for the first time.

What to do instead

When you forget someone’s name, I recommend saying, “Hi, good to see you”, then strike up a simple conversation to help you remember based upon the current situation or event you are attending. Starting a dialogue is a great way to shake up the gray matter in your head to try to remember who they are. If you still cannot remember after conversing a while, it’s time to stop trying and move along. Before leaving tell them, “Hey, it was nice to see you again. Gotta run. Talk to you again next time”.

It can be challenging to remember names, especially if you’re an avid networker. Years ago, I was told about a four-step process that will help you to remember people’s names–and it actually works!

OK, not remembering someone’s name has happened to me too. Saying “good to see you”, then engaging in a dialogue is a great approach to remember their name. If you absolutely do not want to use this technique, a fall-back approach can be one that someone once shared with me: “Sorry, I’m having a total ‘Senior Moment’ and I don’t recall where we’ve met”. Feel free to use that if you do not feel very brave with the “good to see you” approach. However, be prepared for some bruised feelings.

If you’ve ever been approached by someone and drawn a complete blank trying to remember their name, or even where you know them from, you know how awkward and embarrassing that situation can be. Finally, always wear your name badge when networking in person so that the people you meet can easily remember your name.

extroverts

Both Extroverts and Introverts Are Great Networkers

A common myth is that only extroverts are the best networkers. It is a fact that extroverted people are better at meeting new people. Even if they are not outgoing, introverted people are better at communicating ideas and forming meaningful relationships with referral marketing. Therefore, introverts are great networkers too.

Networking is a two-part process for both extroverts and introverts

First, you have to meet someone new and share information about yourself. Extroverts may be better at this first part of the networking process. While introverted people tend to avoid networking because they are uncomfortable initializing conversations with strangers.

Introverts are better at the second part of the networking process. Introverted people are better at building strong relationships with the people they know. Introverts are better listeners and ask more questions to understand the person’s business. Networking is about building relationships.

A good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses each proportionally

  1. Become an ambassador

If you feel uncomfortable approaching strangers at a business mixer, become an ambassador for your chamber of commerce or other organization. In this role, you become a host for the group. Therefore, you easily meet new people by engaging in small talk to break the ice when you greet people and say, “Welcome to our event. My name is [your name]. I’m an ambassador for the chamber and the owner of…”.

      2. Become a volunteer

Are you a volunteer for a cause you feel passionate about? You can give your time at an event, share your talents with the organization, or help solicit donations. Then you will start off talking to others about the cause and soon you are networking. Giving your time, talent or treasure can be effective opportunities for meeting new people. Many of these people could become your future clients.

       3. Become an influencer

Another way to break the ice is by speaking formally to a group about a specific topic. People have become great networkers by joining a parent-teacher association or coaching in their children’s sports league. There are opportunities to speak on behalf of the children. Even an introvert can muster up some charisma and get in front of a crowd. Becoming a public speaker helped me.

Networking is a skill that can be learned no matter your level of gregariousness. If you are uncomfortable when networking, take advantage of training seminars and workshops that teach you how to network effectively. Plus, you can take steps to interact with people in other ways to help break the ice. In conclusion, you will find that when you learn ways to handle these situations, you will become more relaxed and confident in a networking setting.

Quality Relationships

Building Quality Relationships

Years ago, I learned that there is a correlation between the number of quality relationships and the number of referrals generated in a strong networking group. If you have a networking group of 16 members, that group has 120 relationships among all the members. However, a networking group of 32 members has 496 relationships among the members. Doubling the size of a networking group from 16 to 32 members has over four times the number of relationships. See the above graphic for an example of these relationships as chords of a circle. This video further explains this concept.

The Number of Quality Relationships Generated by the Members of a Strong Network

The number of relationships grows exponentially as the size of the group gets larger.  For example, if your networking group has 50 members, that networking group has 1225 relationships among the members. We have a few BNI chapters with 100 members. Therefore, they have 4950 quality relationships among their members. However, it is not the QUANTITY of members in your networking group that is important. What is important is the QUALITY of the relationships that you have with the members of your strong network. Growing more quality relationships in your networking group will increase the number of referrals generated by your members.

The formula: Number of Relationships = 0.5 x [(Number of members) x (Number of members – 1)] 

Quantity is good, but quality truly is king

The bottom line is that the more connections you have, (based on quality relationships of course), the more referrals you generate.  Grow your business by growing a strong network of quality relationships. For decades, I have seen groups that are twice the size of other groups in an area generate several times more referrals than their smaller counterparts.  The math is pretty significant and consistent. If you know your connections well enough to be able to call and ask for a favor–and get it–that is a powerful network.

Effective networking is about building strong relationships. If you approach the first months or year of your involvement in a networking group with the sole motivation of building relationships first by getting to know the other members well, you will be far ahead of the game. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is that it is not really what you know or who you know. It’s how well you know them that really counts. People do business with people they know and trust. The more relationships you build with your members, the more referrals you can give to your members, and the more referrals you will receive from them.

Body Language

The Four Body Language Factors When Networking

You could be unknowingly undermining your networking efforts through your body language. Body language can be extremely powerful when it comes to networking and building relationships with others. Within the first seven seconds of meeting you, people check you out visually. Therefore, it is important to know the four key body language factors to help you present yourself in the best way possible when networking.

Networking Body Language Factors

1. Eye contact. 

Are you making good eye contact throughout the conversation? Some of the most successful business leaders in the world are known for the impressions they make with their eye contact. Their gaze never wavers from the eyes of the person they are speaking with, making them feel as if they are the most important person in the room. They are not looking behind the person to whom they are speaking to see who else is in the room. With a little practice, anyone can do this.

2. Arm movement.

Everyone “talks” with their hands.  A good networker uses gestures that match their message well. However, poor networkers tend to make distracting gestures. It is important to pay attention to your hand gestures while you are networking. If you are speaking to someone and your arms are folded together, this gives the impression that you are not interested and bored with their conversation. Therefore, to give off a positive impression when networking, your arms should be tucked behind your back, indicating interest in the conversation.

3. Your stance.

Are you leaning on something, as if bored or tired? Make an effort to stand in a manner that is open and welcoming, rather than blocking people out of your conversation. Standing with your legs shoulder-width apart signals determination. However, shifting your weight from one foot to the other or rocking forward indicates that you are anxious or upset. Finally, we all tend to lean toward people we like and pull away from those we do not.

4. Facial expressions.

Your networking success rides on how you come across in that first encounter. You want people to perceive you as alert, interested, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. Every facial expression you make tells a story. Are you smiling and showing interest in the conversation? Yawning while someone is talking to you is a surefire way to shut them down immediately. I have seen this happen more times than I can count while observing conversations at networking events.

Two steps to ensure that you are making a positive impression:

  1. Look in the mirror before leaving the house and ask yourself: “What message am I sending to people meeting me for the first time? What opinions will they have of me before I even open my mouth?”
  2. Become more aware of your body language by getting feedback. What are you saying without speaking a word? Before you host your own event, take a trusted friend with you to a networking function and ask them to give you honest, direct feedback on your body language. Provide them with a small checklist of the four factors discussed above and be prepared for their honest insights.

If you are networking with new prospects, make sure that your body language is not discouraging people from approaching you.

hate

If You Hate Networking – Know This

The majority of businesspeople like to network as a powerful way to generate business. Therefore, if you hate networking, watch my doodle video.

People Hate to Network… Not!

Networking involves building a strong relationship. Furthermore, networking is not like “cold-calling”. Instead, it is a conversation with someone to build a relationship with them.

According to the research I did years ago for the book: Business Networking And Sex (not what you think)

  • 57% of the respondents were comfortable or loved networking
  • 37% of the respondents were somewhat comfortable networking
  • 6% of the respondents were uncomfortable or did not like networking

Why are the 6% of business people not networking as a way to grow their business? There are four reasons why people resist networking:

  • Frozen by their fear
  • Too busy at work
  • They are “hunting” for business
  • Not good listeners

Networking is indeed like farming. Commit to mastering what it takes to efficiently and effectively harness the potential in your “relationship crops” and you will reap a bountiful harvest of mutually satisfying relationships and sustainable growth in your business.

Networking is the process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence, or serve the community. It is a lot more interesting than cold-calling.

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