How to Improve the Value of Your Networking

Value of NetworkingThe statistics show that taking a relationship approach brings far more success than looking for the transaction.

In fact, “relationship networkers”, those who build the relationship before getting down to business, achieve more business than those who are “transactional networkers” who look for the business first.

This means your mindset is the most important factor in achieving success through networking.

So if your networking is not bringing the returns you want, perhaps it is time to review your personal perspective so you can effectively engage with others.

Being the life and soul of a networking event may get you noticed, but is not necessarily going to bring you the business. It takes more than the ability to make people laugh and have fun.

As with any form of marketing, being memorable is valuable, but making the interactions you have MEANINGFUL is what gets people to know, like and trust you.

Developing and honing your networking skills and techniques definitely helps make you come across as professional. Reliably following up or following through keep you in people’s minds builds trust.

But your attitude, how you approach the networking, sets the foundation for your success, and this comes down to your how you view your work and your life in general.

How others see you ultimately determines how well you will succeed. What impression are you creating through your body language, tone of voice, and general demeanor are what make people gravitate toward or away from you.

I have written before about first impressions, and the important thing to remember is that those impressions happen each time you meet someone. They come into effect the instant you go to a networking meeting – regardless of how frequently you attend.

The interesting thing is that while it only takes 7 seconds for someone to form an impression of you, it also only takes a few seconds for you to change your body chemistry, no matter what is going on in your life that might be troubling you or making you uncomfortable.

So, next time you go networking, leave you baggage at the door. Take a couple of minutes to straighten your shoulders and smile before you leave your car or before you enter the room. Research has shown that that’s all it takes to radically change the impression you make.

You can totally change the results you are getting with just 5 minutes a day!

  1. I strongly believe that having the right attitude for just about everything makes all the difference. That holds for all things in life, work, home, family and on it goes. That is especially true with an online presence or networking. 🙂

  2. Eve KoivulaEve Koivula07-20-2014

    I was going to mention the TED talk also, it’s been a tremendous help.

    Personally I’m relying on online networking because of my location. Will you be writing about that?

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-22-2014

      I might just do that, Eve. Online networking is quite a different animal from the in-person version. The principles of engagement still apply. Show up prepared to participate.

  3. Lisa VoncinoLisa Voncino07-18-2014

    I enjoy networking in real life and, for the most part, I have had great experiences. It all depends on the chemistry of the group and leaving your expectations at the door. Online networking is fascinating to me because you can cultivate contacts on a global basis and meet outstanding individuals that you would never have met otherwise.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-18-2014

      Lisa, the online world is quite different, isn’t it? But, I suppose the same principles apply – and it does have that added benefit of reaching new people.

  4. Networking is about building relationships. If you’re at a networking event just to collect business cards that’s not going to get you very far.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-17-2014

      Oh, yes! Everyone feels uncomfortable when business cards are thrust at you with no context and no exchange of good will.

  5. jacquiegumjacquiegum07-16-2014

    Wonderful reminder…particularly about first impressions and how they happen EACH time you meet someone. My best customers were always the ones I had real relationships with…not just business

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-17-2014

      You sound like my kind of gal! The relationships are the key to a sustainable business. When there is more than a transaction, real “support” kicks in – from both sides.

  6. Laurie S HurleyLaurie S Hurley07-15-2014

    As always, well thought out points we all need to heed. I’m a big believer of having the right mindset for just about everything one does. So true when establishing business relationships, especially.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-15-2014

      Right, Laurie, one’s mindset defines the context for the experience and everything that follows.

  7. William ButlerWilliam Butler07-15-2014

    Hi Sue,
    These are valuable points to pay attention, especially when people are prone to not paying attention to what matters when they are distracted, excited or . When I ran my computer company, it all hinged on the relationships I established with others. The truth is, everyone can stand to improve their networking value.

    I say, “You never get a second chance at a first impression (unless you’re at an orthodontist,) or a last impression either.”

    Kind Regards,
    Bill

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-15-2014

      Nice sense of humor, Bill. Collecting your thoughts and focusing on the reason you are there makes all the difference.

  8. Patricia WeberPatricia Weber07-15-2014

    This is a valuable summary. Hoping many more people stop by a read it because today, people are more transactional than ever. In some spheres.

    Any Cuddy has a terrific TED talk about Power Poses to change your chemistry.

    For me relationship building is the only way to networking.

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-15-2014

      Thanks, Patricia. I send a link to someone with the Ann Cuddy talk out almost every week. Amazing research!

  9. maxwell iveymaxwell ivey07-14-2014

    Hi Sue; thanks for this reminder. Its something we need to hear often. I wasn’t aware of those statistics. It made me think about the story you see going around the net where the guy leaves all his worries on his problem tree before entering his house at the end of the work day. Just like with most things we have to decide to be positive and believe good things will come from the experience. I’ve never been to a formal networking event. and as a blind person I have the usual fear of will I be seen and heard or will they try to speak to whoever my sighted guide is. guess I better pick well. 🙂 thanks again, max

    • Sue HinesSue Hines07-15-2014

      Hi Max, isn’t there a book about the problem tree? I remember that story from years ago. Amazing how the internet keeps these things alive!

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