There are those that love to network and I am certainly not one of them. The mere thought of networking makes me cringe; however, I understand the importance of placing myself in an environment that promotes growth. I have found attending leadership conferences to be the most helpful way for me to grow as a person and a leader.
Because I am selective and choose only a few events each year, I typically buy the best ticket available. By purchasing the premium ticket, you’re able to attend the private events where you can connect with the key leaders and platform speakers. What I find to be helpful about the private events, is that the environment is much more intimate and conducive to learning.
Recently, I attended an event where the platform speakers (all were outstanding) made themselves available for a Q&A session right after their talk. Candidly, I was excited to lean in and listen. I mean all these speakers hit it out of the park! I noticed a trend after the 3rd Q&A session as one of the attendees would be quick to speak. He was making statements, rather than asking questions.
For example, this individual would start his statement by saying “I enjoyed your talk,” then proceeded to state his professional title and how he could help those in attendance. I mean it was not even subtle! This person clearly was more interested in promoting himself and his service.
As I reflected on the event I could not stop thinking about the man who was making statements. I thought, “does this guy have anyone in his life that can speak some truth to him in love?” “Is he even aware?” Then it hit me, I too focus on my needs, my wants and my desires more than I should.
So how can one effectively network? Allow me to share 10 things that effective net-workers do and don’t do.
- Provide massive value to others by offering something for no charge.
- Thinking of what you can give rather than what you can receive.
- Listen, really listen to others!
- Minimize your distractions. Put your phone away or better yet turn it off !
- Thank the people who are often overlooked, such as staff, executive assistants, etc.
- Send a handwritten card. Make it short; however, share what most impacted you.
- Be respectful of other people’s time. For example, if the host says “I have time for one more question” and that question is asked, don’t say “can I just ask one more question?” Don’t be that guy!
- Don’t force relationships.
- If a connection is made, ask permission if you can follow up with their executive assistant.
- If you’re asked to follow up with a high-level person, ask the question “how would you like for me to follow up?”