4 reasons networking should be your lifestyle

One business event per month and a little LinkedIn every now and then is what networking involves for you? Then it’s definitely not your lifestyle. It should be though! The best networkers don’t just allocate time intentionally for connecting: they also talk to people everywhere and always – at the supermarket, on the tube, at the gym. And they do so for at least four reasons.   It’s a muscle Networking is like a muscle: the more you train it, the stronger it will be. If you attend a networking event and are not used to talking to people, you will probably be nervous, connect with hardly anyone and leave early and frustrated. If you keep talking to people everywhere you go, you will not only be accustomed to it but also great at it, and thus rock every event you attend. Start by saying hi to five strangers a day this week, ask a question to five people a day next week, and engage in a conversation with five new faces a day the week after. This coaching technique is called layering, and will work wonders for your social skills, and thus confidence.   It will be needed Ever gone through a breakup and had to build your social circle from scratch because you neglected your friends during your relationship? Or lost a job and had to start networking like crazy, because you had never done it before? “Dig your well before you’re thirsty“, recommends Harvey MacKay. Because sooner or later you will be thirsty. In other words, there will surely come a day in which you’ll need a network. If you start today and make it a habit, you won’t need to get ready when...
3 moments for socialising on New Year’s Eve

3 moments for socialising on New Year’s Eve

Celebrating at a venue tonight? Great choice: it’s the ideal setting for meeting new people. Especially in three specific moments. Discover them quickly now before the party gets started!   1) The toast This is definitely the moment people are the most sociable: after toasting with their friends, they will probably move around in a radius of a few metres to do the same with strangers. Use this dynamics to approach the people you’ve been noticing tonight, or just talk to random folks. Even the more reserved ones won’t take it bad right now.   2) The fireworks Fireworks are another great uniting moment. They take place just after the midnight toast, so people are already in a good mood. Also, while they are looking up to enjoy the show, people mingle without even noticing. This is the perfect moment for discretely getting closer to that person you’ve been wanting to talk to all evening. So once the fireworks are done and your prospect brings their glance back down, smile at them and make a comment about how wonderful the spectacle was.   3) The dancing Asking someone to dance with you is a perfect pretext to approach them. And a woman does it, she will definitely stand out for her confidence and open-mindedness. Also, in most of today’s music genres, you can dance with people of your same gender, or even in groups. Just make sure you make eye contact and smile while moving to the beat: this will create an even deeper connection.   To a 2016 rich in social interactions!...

Strategise your networking for 2016

Feel your need to become more strategic in your networking efforts? Relationship management system Contactually argues you should make networking strategy one of your New Year’s resolutions. In a recent webinar, CEO Zvi Band presented a powerful roadmap to strategise your relationships in 2016. This action plan is composed of three steps, each one driven by a question you want to ask yourself.   1) What are my goals? What is it you wish to achieve through networking this year? You probably have several goals, in different areas of your life. Write them all down, and then look at them: which ones have priority? Make sure you don’t choose more than two or three goals, as each one of them will involve a whole project. I recommend two: one in your career, one in your private life. Lastly, make sure the goals you set follow the SMART criteria.   2) What kind of people can get me there? Serendipity is extremely powerful in networking, but when it comes to achieving specific goals we need targeted measures. So let’s get analytical: what kind of people can help you attain that goal? Say you wish to double your business as a graphic designer for small-sized enterprises. The categories of people that will benefit you will be for instance your existing customers (who can refer you), other marketing and communications professionals (who can ask you to take care of design in multidisciplinary projects) and entrepreneurs (your potential clients).   3) Who do I already know from this category? Now, for every group you have identified list ten to twenty people you already know....
The perfect offline introduction

The perfect offline introduction

Are names and job titles all you’re able to mention while introducing two people at an event? Being a connector is an amazingly powerful networking tool, which can deliver lasting results for everyone involved, but you have to master it to stand out. The good news is that you just need to bring to the table the following topics, in this very order.   1) ID Start with the classical identity card material – i.e. name and origin. “Guido, this is Karly from Sidney. Karly, this is Guido from Rome”. Just mentioning names can sound dry, while adding too much information in this first line can lead to a monologue. So just go for your contacts’ hometown: it’s short and sweet, but at the same time it will build up anticipation in your interlocutors.   2) Personal qualities After shaking hands and exchanging the classical “Nice to meet you”, your contacts will most probably not yet initiate a conversation, so just keep talking. Now it’s time to sell them to one another! Yet, I beg you, don’t identify them with their job. Focus rather on their personal qualities, ideally one that represents them and at the same time can generate interest in the interlocutor. For instance, knowing that Guido is new in town, you can go: “Guido, Sidney is one of the greatest networkers I know in Zurich!”. Not focusing on people’s profession exhibits two advantages: firstly, you are not stealing a topic they will probably touch anyway during their conversation; secondly, and most importantly: a job doesn’t make the person, their qualities do. In other words, Sidney might be the CEO of a certain company at the moment, but she might be out of work in a few weeks. Yet, she will possess those networking skills forever.   3) Their connection...

Networking on a budget

Even if you don’t live in one the most expensive cities on earth, like I do, you probably still find networking pricey. And it can be! However, as much as I will always argue that we should invest not just time but also money in networking, I also developed a few tricks to limit expenses. Here are four of them.   Drinks instead of food Keith Ferrazzi, one of the greatest networking theorists, invites us to “Never Eat Alone”. However, as uniting as food can be, it’s not indispensable for connecting with people. Drinks, especially coffee, are more affordable, and still grant enough time for deep conversations. Also, you can have them at any time of the day, which allows for flexibility in scheduling.   Host gatherings If you manage to bring a certain amount of people to a venue, its manager will be grateful to you, and you probably won’t have to pay for your drink. Besides, if your guests are satisfied with the event you organized, they will want to thank you by buying you a drink. Call it networking karma!   Become a regular guest Combine the two above techniques with loyalty to a handful of venues, and benefits will be even greater. If you frequently bring in people, you can ask cafés and restaurants for discounts, or even a cut on proceeds. This way, you will not only save on your drinks: you will also start making money! By the way, have you been wondering how you can actively monetise your broad network? Very practical advice is coming soon, so stay tuned!   Get invited...