I don’t remember my first networking group and am pretty sure I was horrible at it.  I used to go weak on my knees when I would think of approaching strangers and introducing myself.  For me, it has always been “ Networking for the sake of Networking is NON Working”.

But you still cannot deny the power of connections and relationships. Good networking skills are vital in today’s world of work.

CEO’s spend 70% of their valuable time networking

65% of jobs are achieved through word of mouth. 

The true spirit of networking includes giving, sharing, caring and reciprocating. Helping Others; Asking for HelpMany women I know are excellent at helping others but lousy at asking for help for themselves. To be an effective networker, you must be able to do both: Hep others and ask for help for yourself.

This is how you do it:

#1: Stop making it about you! 
If you are having thoughts like “networking doesn’t work” then you are making it about you. Make it about how you can serve someone else.

#2: Give first, then receive.
Give value and then you will receive value. Give connections and people will be more likely to give you the connections you are looking for. Give referrals and people will remember that and refer you when it comes up.

#3: Show up more than once.
People will buy after they have been exposed to a product 4-7 times. Just because you go to an event once and you walk away without any sales doesn’t mean the event was a failure. Are you showing up consistently? If not, then don’t complain.

#4: Know what you do.
If you are showing up at an event and every month you are doing something different, or now you have this new package and the next month you have a new, new package and the next month you have a new, new and really new package, no one knows what to expect from you. Stick to your core message. Just because you are bored with it doesn’t mean your prospects are. Get your elevator pitch down!

#5: Ask questions then stop talking.
In a networking setting, ask meaningful questions. Then listen. Then do what most people don’t do and connect them to a possible contact or resource. Suggest who they can talk to if what they are looking for isn’t you. Be a good connector.

#6: Authenticity is everything.
Be real. Be honest. Show up authentically. People will connect with you. And since you show up regularly, people will trust you.

#7: Follow Up. 
Just do it. Phone, email, card, social media…it doesn’t matter, just do it. Stop trying to make it perfect and just follow up authentically. A thank-you goes a long way.

#8: Be Grateful.
Thank people for giving you referrals. Thank people who refer you.

 It’s really that simple. If you are in business you have to meet people. You can “meet” people online but you can LEVERAGE your business when you connect with people.

·       Your next client, deal, sale and solution may not happen with the person in front of you, but everything happens THROUGH people. Get out of your office and connect.