Business success today depends on personal relationships. Indeed to survive in business, you have to get out there and get connected. Business networking involves relationship building, a relationship that is mutually beneficial to both parties.
Find below 6 tips for mastering business networking, referred to as the 6 R's of Networking.
RELATIONSHIP: To be successful in networking, there is the need to build relationships. Building relationships entails making use of any contacts that come your way. You have to make an effort to build relationships. Every social gathering, every meeting, every interaction is an opportunity to network. The technique is it to work hard at meeting people. Like a marketer, you have to work on your pitch, master it, and put it to good use.
RECOGNITION: When you meet people you should be able to endear yourself and make a good impression on them. Being recognized does not mean you should behave in a weird, uncultured way. The words to note 'Good Impression'. Your appearance should be very professional, always smile, and relax around people. When you speak, speak up with confidence and make eye contact. Your points must be short, concise and very clear (But do not try too hard). As indicated you must work hard at it.
REACTION: Your objective is to try and get a good reaction from the other party. Their response must be favourable to you. When you ask for their details (Email, Telephone number, call cards etc.) they must be willing to hand it to you. A good reaction is when people ask for your details and provide theirs without you asking. The best scenario is when you are invited to lunch, dinner, a meeting etc for more interaction.
RESPECT: Aim to gain respect. Work hard at gaining people's trust. The difference between you and the other person from the street is how you carry yourself. Respect is what makes people share information with you freely without hesitation. You have to also reciprocate by respecting the other party. Understand their moods, empathise with them if need be and respect their space. Working hard at your approach will help you recognise when to withdraw and when to push. It should be easy to gain respect if you work hard at your pitch.
RECALL: If somebody can recall an encounter with you (in a positive way), your work is done. Look out for peculiar (positive) things that can be used to your advantage, to serve as reference points for recall.
Be assertive and share your thoughts in a confident manner. Ask questions and more importantly 'listen'. Effective listening allows you to give the right response when it is your turn to speak. Try not to be over imposing, avoid acting in a negative way. Your business cards must be well designed. It helps to have your name boldly displayed on the card. Pay attention to the little things, they are very important.
RESPONSIBILITY: The final step is to be responsible for our actions. It's one thing meeting people the more important part is to keep the relationship going (Rewards). Be responsible in your relationships, honour your promises, keep on time, respect your partners.
The other side to responsibility is to try not to make others destroy your relationships. There is nothing wrong in introducing others ie your wife, your colleague, your mum etc. but make sure they respect the other party. Allowing others into your circle can be good, but be sure to do it right. Always check with people before releasing their details to a third party.
Remember business success today is highly dependent upon your ability to network. Networking can be negative if you do not do it right. Work hard at networking and make sure that you always keep in touch.
Tips for Effective Business Networking - The 6 R's Approach