We work for brands throughout our lives, building and nurturing them, but little do we realize that we are all brands in ourselves. It takes strategic marketing of the brand ‘I’ to escalate in the corporate environment and sustain your as well as your organization’s success. Bill Gates said ‘Our success has really been based on partnership from the very beginning’. Partnerships as we all know are the key between companies divisions or departments down to its roots, or partnerships between individuals.
So for al those in limbs on how to network with those who matters are some pointers to get started: The most important rule is to keep it real. Networking is about being genuine and building mutually beneficial relationships based on trust. Quick Tip: Remember it is impossible to put on a face for long without getting caught.
The best and the easiest way to start a conversation is with a smile. People are more likely to be receptive to a person with a bright smile rather that with a scowl. In short begin with a smile meaning pleasant facial language.
Do not flash a smile immediately when you greet someone. Instead, look at the person’s face for a second pause, and then bring on that warm smile. The way, the delay shows the individual that the genuinely only for them.
It is funny how your non-verbal cues before a conversation can create an impression. Thus, apart from power dressing (read: smart & professional), great posture at that critical meeting/conferences, head held slightly high (fine line from arrogance), a direct gaze can help add immense value. Don’t fear an individual’s higher designation when you approach him.
Instead of waiting to be introduced go up and introduce yourself. It helps take a mental note of what you want to say prior to the forum. Take a risk. You will never know that you have not tried. Keep your personal pitch handy. If you an introvert and find it hard to go up to people try doing that with one group of people and once you are cordial with them, ask them if they know others around.
It is always better to ask a question that can be answered in a few sentences, as compared to a yes or a no. That way, it gives the opposite person chance to talk about themselves you get to know more about them, giving you a cue to take the conversation forward. Recommendation is to ask open ended questions.
When asked “What do you do”, refrain from answering ‘I’ the stereotype. Try adding some interesting facts which may be unknown to the opposite person. This helps in generating more interests about in the user. The power of a Business Card: One you have established a connection, ask the person for their business card. That way, you attain the permission of giving the other person your card.
Never forget to carry your visiting cards, and if you have run out of them, be bold enough to admit it, else you may project the company you belong to as unprofessional or a small scale one. If you have promised to share a number, email or fix a meeting to take that conversation forward do so immediately or at a stipulated date. Delaying could make the other person feel you are not interested. The real test of networking is when you have to follow up and keep in touch.
Technology makes networking so easy. A simple SMS, email, phone call, or online that can help foster that important relationship.
Networking at a place of your interest can be simpler. You are more likely to find people of the same interest and thus talking to them on a common topic can be an easy task. Do not forget to keep in touch with ex-colleagues Bosses clients and vendors.
You are always going to meet people who will not like you will be cold, or will not want to help. Be prepared to handle difficult situations. You need not fear rejection. Remember, the world is round & small, and the same goes for your industry, so it is important to keep your contacts close. At the end, it is not what you know but who you know.