Networking online is very similar to networking face to face. You’re ultimately trying to connect with people and forge relationships. The only real difference is that you’re using slightly different tools to communicate, and have to compete a bit harder to get their attention.
It’s not always easy, but it’s never impossible, if you commit to being a certain type of person, and taking appropriate measures to reach your goal. I’m not recommending that you become a fake, used-cars-salesman type figure. I’m saying that in order to let the extraordinary person that you be noticed, you may need to make a few adjustments to your approach.
Here is a list of everything you need in order to be successful in reaching people online. Remember, that online-people, such as bloggers, are all regular people just like you and I. With that said, this guide can be applied to networking of all types, both online and off.
11 Ways To Think About Online Networking
- Intend a win-win. Build the win-win mentality into your approach. It’s very possible that your excellent at faking it, but chances are that your intentions will eventually become transparent. Find ways that your interactions can be a win-win, and you’ll develop a great reputation.
- Mind the clock. Start out with the assumption that whoever you are trying to reach really values their time. Take the time to craft and polish your ideas before beginning any form of communication. Being concise and to the point will be much appreciated.
- Keep it real. Instead of trying to manipulate the situation, focus on being direct in what you want. It’s easy to beg a minute of someones time, and than spring something huge on them. As you can imagine, this will lead to a bit of resentment, and will not facilitate an excellent relationship.
- Become a giver. Instead of leaching, develop the reputation of someone that under-promises and over-delivers. Besides the fact that it’s more fulfilling to give than to receive, you will come to find out that people are more willing to communicate with you more often.
- No special treatment. The best way to relate to people is to treat all of them with respect and dignity. However, it is important to note that people do not feel comfortable when you talk up to them, and really dislike being talked down to. My solution? Talk to them as if they are on the same level as you! This is the way to build rapport.
- Put Yourself Out There. If you don’t ask, you aren’t going to get the connect. In fact, that’s a sure-fire way to make sure they don’t even know you exist. Just ask.
- Do Not Doubt Yourself. Be ready for your success, and treat now as an opportunity to cease the success and utilize all those skills that you’ve worked so hard to build up.
- Be Dirt Free. If you don’t know by now, googling people’s name is no longer considered a stalker tactic, it now falls into the jurisdiction of standard policy (unless I’m a stalker, and it happens to be my standard policy). Seriously, people will google you, so have a site, blog, or profile up where people will find the best of you.
- Platinum (not Gold) Rule. Treat them the way they want to be treated, not the way you would want to be treated. This is an excellent way to show someone you have an interest in understanding them, instead of cramming your own desires onto them. This tactic requires a bit of proactive listening on your part to really hear what people are talking about between the lines. In the end, this method pays up big time.
- Unlimited Persistence. Once again, this might be a stalker mindset, but I once asked a person 12 times for an interview, until they finally caved in and got it to me. The satisfaction of knowing I got what I wanted what worth it. I even have reason to believe that this person doesn’t hate me after all that. Win-win!
- Enroll Them Into Your World. Are you trying to contact someone because you want them to see your vision and participate in what you are doing? Present your vision in such a way that they can relate to, and live into this dream.
The Tools That Work
- The Classic (yet short) E-mail. Be aware that you are now about to give someone a first impression of you. Keep this e-mail short and direct, respecting their time, and not steering them down some dark path.
- Comment (or trackback) Conversations. Who doesn’t have a blog these days? By being an active participant in the discussion a person has on their blog, you can become a well-known and well-liked presence. This will help facilitated additional contact.
- Twitter Talk. Many people use twitter, which allows you to ‘follow’, or watch what they’re talking about. This will keep you informed to the important topics on their mind, and also facilitate conversation.
- Skype, Cell, Speech. Yes, you are allowed to use your voice to reach people, even if they are on line. See if their website offers a telephone number, or request it after a couple of e-mails.
- Networking events. I have traveled numerous times to meet to places like New York City, Chicago, and even Panama, with the intention to make a genuine connect with them. Since I know many of you are bloggers, I will mention that two of the best known blog networking events are SOBConvention and BlogWorld.
- Countless ‘other’ tools. Just because there are so many social-community tools out there, you shouldn’t take them for granted. Things like Facebook and LinkedIn are great for networking with people. Do not forget the classic instant messenger for having a quick, real-time chat.
As an example of how all this works, I invite you to see and experience the list of high-caliber participants I have been able to get to participate in my Happiness Project, including our very own Leon Ho and Dustin Wax.