Top Networking Tips from a Jedi Master

Ok, so maybe I’m not a REAL Jedi Master, but I still think that 16 years into this career I’ve probably got a thing or two that I’ve learned that can help those of you who LOATHE networking time… ☺Let’s face it, in a business setting, who among us would really, truly just love nothing better than a long in-depth conversation with a self absorbed widget manufacturing rep? I know that I would personally rather pass on that sort of shallow chat, if possible.

What I do enjoy though, is having authentic conversations with genuinely nice people. And I find that most people are relieved and refreshed to find someone authentic in the midst of so much contrived surface talk. Their expressions change, their posture changes, and it’s just plain great to make a new friend.

Stop Selling!

So here’s the best secret of all among top networking tips :  Stop selling. Stop pitching your wares or services. Haven’t you noticed that it honestly doesn’t work well that way anyhow? Try this: the next time your boss sends you to a networking event- do NOT try to see how many cards you can collect, but RATHER, think about the 4 or 5 people that you would really like to meet and get to know better.

If you will fully engage and focus every bit of your energy on those 4 or 5 people in the course of the networking event, you will be richly rewarded with authentic conversations and people who like you and consider you a new friend, not an annoying, shallow, un-memorable salesperson to be avoided at all costs.

The key is to listen more than you talk, lots, lots more actually. Based on your listening, questions should come very easily. Ask your new friend questions and LISTEN to the responses. It’s not a manipulation thing, folks. It’s just the fundamental, globally relevant method for being kind, respectful, sincere, and authentic. It’s the formula for making a real friend. My experience has been that people are utterly amazing. They will go to extraordinary lengths to help you, for no reason other than the fact that they like you and are in a position to help you.

It’s mind-blowing how good and kind people can be. I am constantly in awe and humbled by that. The phenomenon has an interesting by-product too; it makes me want to go out of my way to help others in the same fashion. It’s the realization that there are some kindnesses that we simply cannot properly repay, but we can BE the person that lives a life and leaves a legacy of ALWAYS trying to.

We can always give more than is expected, more than we take, and more than even may be deserved. Generosity and good-hearted “helping” one another can certainly go a long way in healing a lot of hurts in this world.   See you at the next networking event, hope that I notice you are engrossed in a great conversation!

Lauren Goodson, Founder and President of Cornerstone Recruitment Group and Career Expert Academy http://careerexpertacademy.com  is a nationally renowned expert in Job Search Strategies, Career Coaching and Hiring for the Professional audience. She has helped thousands of job seekers to achieve their potential and grow their career.  Through CareerExpertAcademy.com ,  Lauren has redefined professional job search training by establishing an all-in-one resource for extensive and exceptional expert information.  Be sure to visit http://careerexpertacademy.com for more info.

2 Comments

  1. Good Morning Lauren,

    Thanks so much for including me in this new and very soon to be successful venture. Your writing always brings me back to the place I need to be. I like what you said about 4-5 contacts and how important that is and what one can bring away from meetings. It’s the “take-a-ways”that are important and your emphasis on that subject is right on.

  2. I NEVER respond to any of these types of blogs or on line chat room things, but your comments on networking are just spot on. I’ve got a few more years on you from your 17 and I could not agree more. There’s too much pressure we put on ourselves to be “productive” during the networking sessions, be it a break out from a seminar or an association gathering. Collecting the cards seems a convenient metric to determine success. Foolish.

    Just enjoy meeting new people, talk about common interests in business or a current event, or sports, whatever. It seems you forget that the other person is in the same situation you are, trying to be “productive”.

    Best advice is relax, enjoy people, and let a business relationship begin if it was meant to be. People are generally helpful and supportive, they will appreciate the relaxed approach and reciprocate.

    Thanks Lauren.

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