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Strengthening Your Networking Skills: Five Big Areas

July 2, 2012

Strengthening my Networking Skills: Five Big Areas

May 30, 2012 By 

No matter how long you’ve been on the networking scene, you can benefit from a quick review of areas where you can improve your skills.  In fact, long-time business networking types are the people who can get the most from this type of review.  It’s easy to become complacent about your approach over time, causing you to settle for “good enough” networking instead of maximizing the advantages of networking and this powerful business tool.

To get started, see how your current strategies match up against these gold standards:

1)       Communicating effectively.  Communication is a two-way street.  You may have put time and energy into polishing how you communicate about yourself, but how sharp are your listening skills?  How well can you draw someone into a conversation to learn more about what they do?  Searching out members who can have a mutually beneficial relationship with you is far more effective than hoping someone responds to your needs.

2)       Active vs. passive networking.  Technically speaking, if you dutifully show up for meetings and hand out your business card then you’re networking.  You’re probably also not getting many leads or referrals.  Successful networking is much more than showing up for meetings; it’s about being as active and dynamic as you can.  Speak up in meetings.  Make a point of saying hello to guests.  Consider hosting a seminar or talk to show members what you do and what you can offer.

3)       Housecleaning.  On a regular basis you should review your contact list and prioritize it.  Are you spending too much time with people who don’t contribute in some way to your business?  Too little time with those who should be front and centre?  Remember that networking isn’t just about getting business from your direct contacts; it’s the people on their contact lists that you’re trying to access.  Adjust your list accordingly.

4)       Customizing your network.  You’re bound to encounter a wide range of people, all the way from those who have little or no overlap with what you do or need, and those who are closely aligned.  Choose wisely, and invest most of your time building relationships where there will be mutual benefit.  Never be rude or dismissive if you want to create some distance with someone; not only is it unprofessional, you never know how that person could affect your business indirectly or directly.

Don’t forget that people can provide benefits other than referrals, such as expertise in an area, or connections with needed resources.  Keep an eye out opportunities to partner with people who are natural givers, and return the favor by finding ways to help them get ahead

Donna Willon

Donna Willon

A pioneer in the field of business networking, Donna Willon has been teaching people how to build good, solid business relationships since founding Focused Networking Ltd. in 1994. Donna is a respected authority on networking. She continues to expand and develop new ideas to help Focused Networking members, local neetworking business associations and her community. In 1999 Donna’s commitment to people prompted the launch of a Achieving Excellence- business management coaching program Donna specialized in Linkedin as her Social Media Networking tool. She includes this in her coaching program and in-house seminars on how to use Linkedin as a business networking tool to get more attention from your ideal clients and strategic alliances

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One Comment
  1. Donna your blog about business networking skills is very effective and force to reading. your all points are
    precisely and clear of thoughts. I am appreciate for your informative post.
    Thank You.

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