Connections are everything in business and in life. Don’t waste your time on things don’t really matter. Take time today to make every connection you have count!
Networking is one of the most enjoyable things that I do every single day, but it hasn’t always been easy for me. In this blog, we will be talking about some sure-fire ways to give your network a jump-start. Not only that but we will also give you a few insider tips to grow your following on multiple platforms.
We know that networking isn’t easy for everyone that’s why we are writing this. We commend you for taking a few moments out of your extremely busy day to read through it.
Remember that networking is just like everything else. You can learn about it all day, but if you never put the action items into use then you are wasting, you time.
Our first tip to networking is to get used to being out of your comfort zone. If you constantly live in your comfort zone then you will notice that when you are given the chance to network you will always choose to stay at home or go back to your hotel room. There are so many ways to get out of your comfort zone, but that’s another blog. Literally, we have a blog all about getting out of your comfort zone. Check it out!
Our second tip is when at an event or traveling don’t go back to your hotel room, spend a few minutes at the bar. We didn’t say you had to drink, that’s completely your choice. By spending time sitting at the bar, you will be able to see everyone as they come in. When I first stated traveling for work I never used to go down to the bar. I would go back to room, bust out my computer, and get more work done. I was literally putting in about 12-16 hour days on an eight-hour salary. One day I walked back into the hotel and noticed a few people I knew sitting at the bar enjoying a drink, so I went over and sat down by them pretty soon there was a large crowd there. I thoroughly enjoyed my evening. The next night I went up freshened up a little and came right back down. The CEO of the company came over, sat right next to, and started talking. It wasn’t long before every VP in the company knew who I was. That wasn’t my intentions, but it sure worked out great for my career with that company.
Say Hi to Everyone
Have you ever noticed that no one says hi to the door greeter or the janitor? Everyone goes out of his or her way to talk to someone “important” like the CEO or VP or speaker at the event, but they miss the greeter that gladly holds the door open for them every morning.
Here’s a funny true story that happened to me. I was at an event with some pretty big names as the headliners. There were three door attendants holding the doors open to the event, behind them were six security guards making sure that no one caused any problems. I gladly said hi to all of them and started a light casual conversation with them. Something to the effect of, “I sure appreciate what you guys are doing for this event. You guys are the unsung heroes here. We didn’t spend more than 45 seconds on the conversation but we all engaged each other. Before I could walk by the security guard one of them said, “Sir I need to see over here for a second.” My first thought was oh man how did know that I didn’t pay for parking? Lol. He said, “sir did you know that you are first person out of the 500+ people that have come through the doors today, you are the first one to actually talk to us?” I said, “That’s crazy, 500 people and no one even had the decency to ask you how your day was going?” We talked for a few more minutes then he told me, “I have back seat VIP ticket to give away, the manager told me to find the right person and make their day. Guess what bud, you’re that guy.”
My ticket was upgraded to almost triple the cost what I paid. All because I said hi and actually listened to their response.
That leads me into the third tip, listening.
Listening is one of the most important things that we can do to help grow out networks. How want to be talked at? NO ONE!! No one likes being talked at, we enjoy conversations. You know a little talking and a lot of listening. If you want to get people to like you, start by shutting your mouth and opening your ears. Listening is the biggest thing that is missing in America today. Too many people love to talk but hate to listen. You can gain so much wisdom by just listening to what others have to say. You can also tell if you really want them in your network by listening to them. Take it from me, ask someone how his or her day is going, and actually listen to him or her. Then the next time you talk to them ask them about what you talked about last. The results will amaze you.
Fourth is to make eye contact while you’re talking. There is nothing worse than talking to someone who isn’t there. Their body is there but their mind is elsewhere. Don’t be that person. If you find yourself starting to lose your attention, mentally tell yourself to pay attention. It will be a game changer. Making eye content is one of the best ways to let people know that you are listening. Heck it’s even a little intimidating if you aren’t used to it. I used to work with a great person, every time I was in his area I would ask him to lunch. He was full of so much knowledge and wisdom. Steve had so many great aspects of his leadership and I wanted to learn from him every chance I had. I distinctly going to lunch with him one day and I could feel his eye contact. It made me uncomfortable. I kept looking around the restaurant. He was listening so intently. About half way through the conversation, he asked what I was looking at. I didn’t have an answer. From that point on when I’m talking to someone I started making eye contact. It has made a huge difference in the response I get.
Social Media Networking
This could be a blog in its self. There is so much information about SM it’s hard to narrow it down. Here’s what we are going to say. Don’t be afraid to comment on posts, but when you are commenting, make sure you are being respectful. If you don’t agree with someone political, view is it worth your time to comment. Probably not. My point is that SM is great when you use it nicely. I grew up with the phrase, “if you wouldn’t say it to their face don’t say it behind their back.” I firmly believe that about SM as well. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s, face then don’t put it in a post. Also, if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t make that comment. By doing this and making meaningful posts your network will grow insanely fast.
Go to Events
Our last tip to improve your networking is to go to events as often as possible. How many times have you thought, man I would love to go to that, but you never bought tickets? I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me. I have wanted to go to an event, even free ones and back out or never RSVP’d. Then after the fact, I thought man I should have just went. Never hesitate to spend a little money on yourself for personal growth. Find a group that you would love to be a part of and go for it. You will never regret making that connection and investing in yourself.
There are so many more tips that we could give you to help you grow your network. In addition, we will definitely have more blogs about it in the future. We are working on one right now about growing your LinkedIn network. We went from under 100 connections to over 15000 in less than 1 ½ years all through natural growth.
If you are interested in learning more about networking from the masters in the business industry. Check out our networking mastermind.