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12 Things Super Networkers Do Differently

12 Things Super Networkers Do Differently

Is your networking having a positive impact on your business or career? Is the time you are investing paying dividends or are your coffee dates leading to friendship and nothing more? The world revolves around relationships, we have known for years it’s not what you know but what you know AND who you know that will get you to the top.

Networking is an activity which is becoming essential for businesses and individuals to develop their careers. But it should be done with intention. Here are a number of tips which may put an end to fruitless networking and help you join the ranks of the Super Networkers.

BEFORE THE EVENT

1. They choose the right events

There are thousands of networks both online and offline you could become a part of. Choosing the right events and networks to invest your time in is the first step to effective networking. If your target market is financial services, go to events interest people from the financial services industry. Networking requires a substantial time input, so make sure your time is invested in the right place.

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2. They plan and prepare

A good networker is a good planner. Do your research in advance, know who is attending the event and figure out if anyone you know can introduce you to the person you want to speak with. Don’t float aimlessly hoping to meet the right people. Be strategic.

3. They make it about the other person

Although you go to networking events to let people know you exist, once you get there you must focus on them. It may sound counterintuitive if your intention is to grow your business connections and hopefully create interesting leads for yourself but this is how it works. Ask the question – what can I do for you? Making networking about the other person is the best way to make yourself memorable and create connections who will genuinely want to help you and your business succeed. It’s all about the other person.

4. They are present

How many times have you met someone who asks you what you do and spends the rest of the time scanning the room as you reply? How does that make you feel? Never do this to another person. We may have our targets in sight and want to get an opportunity to speak to them, but rather than make another person feel bad, tell them straight. I really want to speak to that person tonight so please excuse me while I try to connect with them. Anyone would much rather you did this than half listen to what he or she is saying.

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5. They are good listeners

Being present is the first step to being a good listener. Listen intently to the person speaking to you and think about how you may be able to help him or her. The more you remember about a person the next time you meet him or her, the better the relationship will be.

6. They ask insightful questions

In order to listen well you may have to ask clarifying and insightful questions. Show the person you are interested in him or her and what they are saying.

AFTER THE EVENT

7. They capture contacts

You arrive back from the event with a pile of business cards. Don’t just throw them in a drawer, capture the details in a way you can follow up when required. Use sales or CRM software. If you don’t have one of these packages, Excel will do just fine. Capture the details and any information you think may be relevant for future encounters.

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8. They follow up

Don’t forget to follow up. You have good intentions but you never seem to have the time to follow up. Make time. After the event follow up after a couple of days. Never do a hard sell. Say how it was nice to meet them, if you have any relevant news to tell them let them know. Never use a follow up email as a means to sell. You may want to ask permission to add your contacts to your mailing list. You could tell them you checked them out on social media and followed or liked them. You could say you looked at their website and will recommend their services if the opportunity arises. There are many ways to make the initial contact without trying to sell yourself.

9. They fulfill promises

Make sure you make a note on the night of any commitments or promises you have made to people. If you promised to forward a connection or send them information make sure you deliver. They will lose respect for you if you cannot fulfill your initial promise.

10. They use their network

If you have all your contacts together in one place it will make it easier to use your network when the time arises. If you are looking for a supplier, your network contacts should be your first port of call. Keep in touch with your network by sending them useful articles or by inviting them to a business event when one arises. Stay fresh in their minds.

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11. They make getaways

The reality of networking is there will be times when you need to make a getaway. Your ideal contact is moving towards the door and you will kick yourself if you miss this opportunity. My tactic is to tell the truth as much as possible. Excuse yourself, go speak to your target, then go back to the person you were initially speaking to. If you need to make an escape because you can’t listen to another minute of someone’s self-absorbed sales pitch, you could try telling him or her nature calls, you need a glass of water, or you need to put more money in your parking meter. Whatever way you do it, try to take the person’s feelings into account (even if he or she wasn’t worried about yours) and on a strategic level you never know who you are speaking to nor the value of their network.

12. They value quality not quantity

And lastly remember at the end of the night it is more beneficial to create two warm leads that have a pocket full of business cards.

Networking is about building relationships and this takes time. You may get frustrated starting out but know it pays off in the end. Follow these useful tips and you too can become a super networker

Featured photo credit: IMG_9565.JPG by Andy K via morguefile.com

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Ciara Conlon

Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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