Networking is the art of conversing with people reciprocally, where a conversation is an exchange of ideas, leads, and/or suggestions that support the professional and personal lives of both parties.
- The best networkers do not attend networking events with a “What’s in it for me (WIFM)?” mentality. Rather, they approach networking with a “What’s in it for them (WIFT)?” mentality, i.e., focusing on how they can be helpful and/or useful to other people.
- They focus on treating other attendees as people, not as contacts who can do something for them.
- They focus on being sincerely interested in other people.
- Before attending, they have a plan and approach for capture any new business contacts and important conversations by inputting that information into their automated contact systems and/or connecting to those contacts on LinkedIn and other relevant social media.
- When attending events and conferences, they plan ahead to mingle and circulate.
- They are friendly and open, focusing on listening to people, one on one, and with sincere interest.
- They pay attention by listening to understand another’s perspective. They listen with their eyes and ears, and remember and/or take note of what they discussed, heard about, and learned. They listen for commonalities and mutual interests, and expand upon them.
- They are open to serendipity, things that happen coincidentally, or what they hear/learn about unexpectedly.
- They are disciplined with initiating follow-up and following through.
- They thank and/or acknowledge everyone who has given them their time, ideas, leads, resources, referrals, word of mouth, etc., and stay in touch.
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