Networking–It’s More Than Just Talking Business

People often think that networking is all about talking business and exchanging cards, but that’s a definite misconception.

In a networking group, you should talk about more than just business. A referral relationship is more than just, “I do business, you do business, let’s do business.” A much better approach is to find common ground on a personal level, then relate your business to it.

The longer I’ve been involved in networking, the more I’ve seen the power of personal interests in making connections. Networking is about building personal relationships. If you remove the personal from the equation, you limit the amount of business that can happen.

In one networking group I worked with, I introduced an exercise called the GAINS Exchange, in which people share personal and professional information about themselves. Two of the participants in this group had known each other for more than a year but had never done business. During the exercise, they discovered they both coached their sons’ soccer teams. They quickly became close friends and were soon helping each other conduct soccer practices. After a few months, they began referring business to each other–two guys who had barely spoken to each other the first year because they seemed to have so little in common.

By finding a common interest and starting with that, we can make connections that have a very good chance of turning into business. Try this strategy out for a while and then come back and leave a comment to let me know what your experiences have been–I’d love to hear about them!

3 thoughts on “Networking–It’s More Than Just Talking Business

  1. Nice post. I recently joined a business network and have been applying the kind of principals you talk about, it is quite amazing how you end up having stuff in common with the most unlikely people..

  2. Ivan-
    Your post is dead on. The more you know a person, the better referral you can give and visa versa. Over the years I have found many different commonalities with the people that I meet and network with. We’ve made connections because our children are the same age, singing we did when younger, owning a dog and even my recent discovery of a gluten allergy has brought me closer to different professionals and turned into business.
    To your success!
    Productive & Organized – We’ll help you find your way! tm

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