It’s that time of year. You may be attending an event in the hopes of obtaining new business, a new job, or new connections. How can you ensure you are off to a good start in building a new relationship?
The first principle in effective networking is giving. Sure, you may be networking to get something in return – a new client, a referral, a sale, an endorsement, a job interview. However, focusing on what you want, you may find you get nothing in return. Instead, shift your focus on giving – what do the people you are looking to add to your network need? Information? Connections? The Law of Reciprocity states if you give something to somebody, they will insist that they give you more than what you gave him/her. Giving positions you as a resource.
What do you have to give? I call this the 3 I’s : Information, Introductions, Invitations.
Information – Share relevant or helpful information. You might have read a book, an article or blog post that might be pertinent to that person’s work. Sharing useful information is one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with a contact after the event. This may lead to a deeper conversation about the topic you sent, and it gives you an opportunity to advance the relationship.
Introductions – Introduce a new contact to people in your group. During a networking event, connecting individuals who do not know one another is appreciated . Connecting individuals who have similar interests after the event continues to strengthen your network.
Invitations – Offer an invitation to an event that you think a new contact would enjoy – especially if the event is relevant to their business or industry. Make it a win-win where your colleague can gain new knowledge or contacts through you.
Consider this thought from Florence Scovel Shinn before heading to your next networking event, “Giving opens the way for receiving.”
What can you and will you be give?