Networking Productively: Expect Less, and Give “MORE”
Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
All over the world, people are quickly catching up to the idea of networking, especially via networking events to form new, valuable contacts in their respective industries. Valuable contacts count; this fact can never be overemphasized. Opportunities to meet people should never be turned down as these interactions, most often than not, lead one to encounter even greater opportunities and experiences down the road.
People make the planet. The more (valuable people) you meet, the more of the planet you interact with! There must be a game plan to this though. For example, you need to consciously know what you want from these valuable contacts you are looking to meet. What do you want from them? And, most importantly, what do you want to give them to further portray your value to them. How can you lay the groundwork with your interaction for a lasting and productive relationship?
When most people attend networking events, or accidentally meet people in their daily sojourn, the major goal seems to be “what can I get from this interaction?” or “what can I get from this individual?” Rarely do people have a game plan as to what they will be giving back to whomever they meet; in terms of contact, professional advice, direction and so forth.
It is therefore worthy to have a general look at what it means to give MORE whenever we make new contacts. I particularly agree with Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon in their very astonishing guide on networking titled Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for Business and Career Success. These amazing authors have a healthy insight into the relevance of making productive contacts, and making them count too. They’ve laid out the “MORE” concept of giving, which I’ll put a new spin on, and relay to you here:
M = METHODS
How do you do what you do? Tips you can give to make life easier for your contacts. Note that based on what you do, experiences you have had and people you are conversing with, your methods could come in handy in a variety of ways across a variety of topics such as:
- Tips on how to pitch to clients and how to choose appropriate channels of marketing.
- Your most preferred CV template and how it has worked for you.
- How to save money while visiting a local market.
- Your experience with your bank while looking for a business loan and better ways other people could pitch such to their banks.
O = OPPORTUNITIES
How often do you alert people to an opportunity when you have the opportunity to? We must always feel the need and the responsibility to draw the attention of our contacts to opportunities and enthusiastically alert our contacts to job openings and useful events? For example:
- A new job opening within the city or at your corporate headquarters.
- A free business seminar for entrepreneurs and office workers.
- A client looking for productive marketers to brand a personal business.
- Discounted vacation packages to Kenya, Dubai, Zazibar…
R = RESOURCES
Can your offer something or offer someone’s contact who can offer something? Resources are vital in career development. So, as an individual if you’ve got it, then share it with your networks. Resources could be anywhere from:
- A recent E-book you read which has been immensely useful to you.
- The name and contact number of an Estate Agent who cuts 10% off on agency fees.
- Cheat sheets in digital marketing and branding of SMEs.
E = ENTHUSIASMS
What projects or activities tickles your excitement? Are you excited about something? You could share your enthusiasms not just to keep conversations going but also to inspire people’s interest in what it is you are excited about:
- Your new NGO whose goal is to crowd fund homeless children’s education and feeding.
- Your fuel-saving Mercedes Benz model.
- Educative seminars which your company decided to put money into in order to mentor and develop cash-strapped young entrepreneurs.
The “MORE” concept is not just an inventory of how you could or should be useful to others. It is much more than that, actually. It gears you for greatness, usefulness and accomplishments as on these premises rests your status within the network.
Serving as a useful resource to your network in such a way paints a picture of you in the mind of individuals you meet and those who network with you. Whenever a discussion about you comes up or whenever something “you are known for” needs to be sorted out, they relate your image to productivity and accomplishment.
Note that while this is happening, you giving leads to you getting. A myriad of opportunities abounds in people we meet every day. Therefore, once you give MORE your contacts won’t hesitate to refer you whenever “MUCH MORE” needs to be given to you.