The Best Chief Technology Officer

A Single Conversation Can Change Your Life: How to Be a Better Networker!

A Single Conversation Can Change Your Life: How to Be a Better Networker!

In the first part of our Networking series, we figured out what IS and what IS NOT Networking. Now in part two of our Networking series, we are looking to answer the questions of what are the characteristics of good networkers, how to meet people, and how to maintain those relationships. I will provide my insight as we go along. I hope you enjoy!

Good Networkers ARE:

1. Aware

2. Responsive – Always answers calls, emails, text messages, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc…

3. Timely

4. Friendly

5. Great listeners

6. Those who can recall conversations – Can quickly remember the last time they saw someone, what they talked about, etc…

7. Great at making connections

8. Organized

9. Confident – You have to make others feel like they are bettering themselves by knowing you and what you can provide to them.

10. Consistent

11. Sharers – Don’t be shy to talk about your strengths, weaknesses, or even your personal life (children, significant others, vacations, etc…)

12. NOT ramblers—no one likes someone who talks and talks and talks and talks and talks…okay you get the picture!

13. People who don’t mind being uncomfortable – Don’t go to a networking event and hang around the same people you already know. You have to put yourself out there.

14. ALWAYS asking for contact information – Business Cards, email addresses, phone numbers, etc…

15. People who can talk about themselves in a clear and concise manner – Who are you, what you do, and what you want to learn? A good networker should be able to answer these questions in 30-45 seconds.

16. Those who can find common ground in conversations – Anyone can do this even if they feel like they have NOTHING in common. There are a lot of starter questions that you can turn into a conversation: ‘Where are you from?’ ‘What do you do?’ ‘Where did you go to college?’ ‘What are your Summer Plans?’

Make a comment about them. Maybe they are wearing a watch, a class ring, purse, or have a hairstyle that you like that is an easy way to start a conversation and compliments them at the same time.

Sometimes I say that I am new to networking (even though I’m not) and I appreciate the opportunity to chat with them. Other people really like it when you show that you are genuinely interested and will share info and if done correctly they will become invested in you.

Where to Meet People:

1. Through your friends and family

2. Professional Events – Professional Societies, Clubs, Organizations, Volunteering, Alumni Events (this is a HUGE avenue to meet people that is often forgotten and overlooked)

3. Casual Conversation – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a plane reading a book and someone saw the book I was reading and asked questions about it. ‘I’ve heard of that title before, how is the book?’ It’s a good icebreaker to learn more about others and for them to learn about you.

4. Community Involvement

5. Work Events – I know most times you don’t want to get dinner with your coworkers or go to lunch with them, but you just never know what you might learn from them in a different type of environment.

How to maintain these relationships:

1. Coffee – This is a quick and easy way to setup time with people. It’s usually not as long of a time as lunch or dinner and it provides a nice break to the work day.

2. Lunch

3. Happy Hours

4. Share articles or cool pieces of information – If you find an interesting piece of information, feel free to share it. Don’t overdo it, but the article could help prompt something for a future conversation.

5. Notes for congratulations – I have a list of names and addresses and I always try to send congratulatory notes for special occasions in people’s lives. I.e. thank you cards, promotions, weddings, engagements, birthdays, birth of children, holidays, work and wedding anniversaries.

Last but not least, not EVERY person you meet will be worth a networking relationship. Some people can be rude, mean, or not good conversationalists themselves. Not every person you meet is worth the time and effort of networking. Make sure you are identifying people who will provide value to you and vice versa. It’s not called netWORK for a reason, it takes a lot of time and effort to build and maintain a network, but it can be worth its weight in gold as you move through your career and life. Perhaps the best thing about networking is that ANYONE CAN DO IT! Yes, others are a lot more gifted in building relationships, but all it takes is time and practice.