Published November 5, 2012
Tags: Book, Networking, Tim Klabunde
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone here at Cofebuz for your help making the launch of “Network Like an Introvert” such an amazing success. I was truly humbled this past month as the book rocketed to being a #1 Best Seller in the Sales and Selling category on Amazon and became the #1 Hot New Release in the Marketing and Sales category! I am even more excited about the stories of people changing how they act as they have learned about networking from a new perspective, after all, that is how I will define the true success or failure of the book. I’ll keep you posted as things unfold, but Thank You again!
Great conversations start when people have something in common. For my second video in this series I wanted to share with you a little secret I use to help ensure that I can find common ground quickly when I meet someone new. Not only is it simple, but you’ll find it is fun to implement as well!
For those that subscribe to CofeBuz via email here is a link to the video: http://youtu.be/225wZaf8f2A
Published January 24, 2012
Networking , Rainmaking
Wondering why your conversations don’t last long when networking? Perhaps you are talking about the wrong topic for just a bit too long.
I have been asked several times recently when I planned on creating another YouTube video after having a couple of thousand hits on the “I don’t know anyone survival basics” video. So at long last I am pulling audio from a recent seminar I gave on networking as a basis for a handful of new videos. This first one is a quick one-minute story about some in-person research I did on inadvertently ending a conversation. I hope you enjoy it!
Video link: “Conversation Killer”
A couple of weeks ago we took a look at what not to do when networking. I thought it only appropriate to follow-up this week with a couple of helpful hints about what to do when networking:
- Don’t stress out. Networking is just building relationships, and the easiest way to do that is to help others first.
- When you meet someone listen for their name and use it after 1 minute of conversation. It reinforces your interest in them as a person and your interest in your conversation.
- Come prepared with three stories (children, vacation, social, etc.); stories provide interest and usually lead to follow-up questions and discussion. Remember: a story paints a picture, and a picture is worth a thousand words (and a thousand points of connection).
- Stray away from “business” quickly in your conversations.
- Focus on helping the people that you meet, not helping yourself. Would the person you are speaking with benefit from you introducing them to someone else you know in the room? Do you have information that the person you are speaking with might benefit from?
- Follow-up. Can you offer to do something tomorrow, and can you remember to do it?
In all that you do, remember to be yourself. When you are yourself and just focus on developing great friendships awesome things happen.
If you were to open my top left desk drawer you would find two things in it, a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne. I don’t keep them in my drawer because they were left over from last years’ holiday party; they are there to thank others for their help making us successful.
In the fast paced business environment prevalent today, I have found that people are generally under-appreciated. Think back over the past year about how many times you helped other people, perhaps it is a hundred or a thousand times? Now think about how many thank you notes you have received. I often ask this question when speaking on networking and have found that only about 5% of people in any given room have received a thank you note in the past three months!
Did you ever consider the benefits of taking the extra time to say thank you? Here are two benefits you may consider:
- Thanking people reinforces the behaviour you are thanking them for and increases the chances that that behaviour will be repeated in the future.
- Showing gratitude helps to build your relationship and differentiates you from the hundreds of other people that the other person works with.
Go buy some champagne
Consider taking a moment to ensure that others know that you are genuinely thankful for their efforts. The holiday season is a great time to start, but remember that it is something that benefits everyone regardless of the time of year.
I was at a networking function the other day and was reminded of the humorous and not-so-humorous things that people do when they are at networking events. Here is a quick list of things that you should avoid the next time you are out at a networking event:
- Talking about the traffic or weather is ok, but it is a conversation killer if it goes on longer than 45 seconds.
- If you are not a salesperson DO NOT SELL. Remember, networking is about building relationships.
- Don’t be an excessive name dropper. Name dropping once or twice in a conversation can be beneficial as you work to identify mutual relationships, but be careful not to name drop in excess as others might find it annoying.
- It is proper etiquette to wait until you understand what someone does for a living before you exchange business cards. It also keeps you from looking like you are more interested in collecting cards than building relationships.
- Limit your drinking; a good rule of thumb is one drink per hour. This keeps you sharp and ready for the next conversation.
- Don’t give someone that you just meet a brochure. It makes you look like a salesperson rather than a future friend. Brochures are for follow-up.
- Finally, please don’t look for someone else to talk to while you are engaged in conversation. Believe it or not people can tell that you looking over their shoulders.
Remember that networking is about relationships, not events. Networking is not usually stressful if you are focusing on building relationships and having fun. If you are temped to “work the room” consider a new career in sales. If you want to build mutually beneficial relationships that will help your career and your company, just be yourself and look for ways to help everyone that you meet. — What would you add to the list?
For years I have watched with astonishment as many of my introvert friends have excelled at social/business networking. If you read most books on networking, (there are hundreds of thousands of them) you continually see information that is geared towards extroverts: how to work a room, how to effectively meet new people, and what to do at association events. The problem is that these thoughts are great, but not necessarily for introverts! By embracing who you are as an introvert and working your personal strengths you can see more success from your network than most extroverts. The secret is to focus on who you are.
Start with Who You Are
Let’s start with two obvious facts: 1) Just like extroverts, introverts are ‘pre-wired’ with a need for relationships. 2) Relationships are foundation of Networking. Based on these two facts it is easy to see that introverts should be able to easily succeed at networking, if only someone would tell them how to do it! You’re in luck, here is the secret:
Learn the key to Networking
With all that has been written on networking I am consistently amazed at how rapidly the central idea behind networking is overlooked. Networking is nothing less than focusing on and helping other people. When we help someone else once, it creates an innate and positive response. When we help someone three times, it creates a desire for them to help us in return; and when we help someone a dozen times, they have a healthy desire to help us in return. The great thing about real networking is that it creates mutually beneficial relationships where two people are consistently looking for ways to help one another. The key to this happening is concentrated effort on a specific group of people that over time develops these multiple mutually beneficial relationships.
The Introvert Advantage
Introverts are natural networkers because they have a tendency to focus on a smaller number of relationships. This same concentrated approach can be developed by extroverts, but it is very natural for an introvert to develop a strong core of relationships that can feed them opportunities and information.
Taking the first steps to start networking
To start networking as an introvert you need to take two first steps: 1) recognize that networking is nothing less than helping other people without expecting anything in return and 2) identify a core group of people (More than 10 and less than 20) that would fit well into your network. For example, if your business was marketing for an architecture firm and your best friend is an astrophysicist, they are probably not the right person for your business network. Then start networking by continually helping that group of people, you’ll be amazed at what happens as others start returning the favor.