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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 July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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