There’s a more natural type of business networking – you can try it today.
I’m told that some people are born to be successful networkers. This guy swore he wasn’t yet he got exactly what he needed by asking questions. How can you ensure you get the results you want?
My mate in IT was working at a hedge fund where everyone was confused by the fact that the network settings kept falling away after they had been reset. The non technical explanation is that the computers would not work properly.
After much frustration he decided to take a break, clear his mind and think of a way to get to the bottom of the problem – so he decided on a cigarette. Like most reputation conscious businesses there was no room to smoke on the front steps so he decided to take a walk around the building.
It was a beautiful day and he noticed quite a few people up on a first floor area that looked lush with greenery. He fancied taking a look and asked a fellow “smoker” how to get up there. The reply was “you probably don’t want to mate – what with the electricity substation underneath”.
Armed with that knowledge he stubbed his cigarette out, waltzed back in the building and proceeded to act like he had the right to wear his underpants outside of his trousers. Fixing the network once and for all and providing an answer that swept through the building like wildfire. The problem was that the substation was responsible for some form of “magnetizing” of the IT system. Please don’t ask me to explain because I won’t be able to.
Smoking and networking, my mate tells me “smetworking” was an accident yet felt OK because he had something in common (rapport) with the other “smoker”. The hedge fund was so impressed he could have asked to be introduced to everyone else in the building and they would have been happy to help. A missed opportunity perhaps?
The moral of this story? Business networking is about finding useful information and contacts that help you or others. You will not be able to do that unless you are regularly asking people questions to see what they want in order to build rapport. And don’t forget to ask for something when the opportunity arises. Then you can become “a natural”.
Wrap up; It’s not about smoking or telling people what their problem is and hoping they choose you to fix it. It’s about finding ways to help others. When you are able to help, ask for help in return. Then follow up.
Todays tip; Don’t take up smoking, resolve to ask 20 more questions per week, that’s four per day.
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