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Entries for the 'Natural Networking' Category

Listen In -> Natural Networking #5: Being Yourself, Your Greatest Asset

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

You are the world’s foremost expert in being you.

You have more years experience being you than you do being anyone else. Your best bet for successful networking is being you.

It sounds obvious. Right?

Unfortunately too many of us fall into the trap of thinking that the process of learning skills and practices (like networking) involves learning to be different than we are.

We confuse learning the principles and skills involved with trying to become a different sort of personality doing those skills.

The result is almost always disastrous.

If you hate networking as much as I do, maybe it’s because you’re trying to be someone you’re not.

That’s a lot of work! A lot of work that seldom works!

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Natural Networking #4: Keeping Conversations Context Appropriate

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

There you are on the sidelines of your kid’s soccer game cheering yourself hoarse.

There next to you is another parent trying to assess your insurance needs.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The context isn’t appropriate for professional networking.

In this week’s show, Claudia and I look at the context of our networking opportunities.

If both of you parents in our example were ignoring the game and searching for a discussion topic, then work could be an interesting and relevant diversion. But in this example, our antagonist seems blind to your engagement with the game.

Natural networking, on the other hand, would recognize that this is a family event and that you are both there to support your kids.

Consequently, any conversation and relationship building would center on soccer, your brilliant kids, blind referees, or how much time is involved in all these practices and games.

Conversation happens. Relationship building happens. Trust builds. Connections form. But the topic is not work.

How sensitive or appropriate is your networking to its context?

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Natural Networking #3: Fostering Conversations and Discovering Connections

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Who was that you were talking with at your most recent networking event?

Do you remember anything more than whether or not they qualified as a sales prospect that should be tracked?

Tracked. Like prey to a hunter.

In this week’s show, Claudia and I offer a different, healthier, and, we believe, more effective way to think about networking.

How would it affect your style if you were tracking conversations instead of prospects?

Networking that views others through the lens of sales potential filters out a hundred other possible connections that could propel a relationship forward.

Tracking how close to closing a sales deal you are with each prospect also limits your options for follow-up prompts, topics, and occasions.

Keeping track of conversations, on the other hand, opens up a thousand contact points, areas of shared interest, personal issues, public opinions, etc. that are the bread and butter of authentic human connection.

Conversations don’t need to end, giving you a vehicle for keeping in contact, following up, and showing continued interest. Conversations give you a means for building trust and relationship over time.

What if networking were a natural process of initiating and fostering conversation?

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Natural Networking #2: The Disconnect of Techniques and Formulas

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Beware of the “How To” workshop!

Granted lessons on how to use a table saw or how to weld might save your life or at least a valuable limb.

When it comes to issues of how to be yourself in business, though, the “how-to” techniques are more often obstacles than aids.

In this week’s podcast discussion, Claudia and I look at networking techniques and the pitfalls of applying these formulas in a non-thinking or flat-footed manner.

Yes, it is effective to ask probing questions about what people do when attending a networking event. Having said that, people know instantly when you are not really listening to them.

Some of us want the effect of active listening without really being interested in the content of what we just heard.

There is no way to fake natural networking. Techniques are tools for the craftsperson not rules for the technician.

Do you find yourself depending on networking techniques and formulas to make professional connections?

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Natural Networking #1: Rethinking Networking for a New Economy

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I hate networking.

I suppose, more accurately, I should say I hate networking events.

I hate the uber-confident professional masks people wear. I hate the feigned interest in my business, which is really an assessment of whether I have potential as a client. I hate the polite exchange of business cards, as if either of us plans to do anything with them but expand our e-mail lists.

This week Claudia and I begin a new discussion series we’ve entitled, “Natural Networking.”

This series is for my sake as much as yours.

It began with a personal need to rethink networking to better fit my own style and personality.

It became a realization that in the current economic turmoil, the impersonal, manipulative, superficial, technique-based “rules” of successful networking are on the way out.

Demonstrated integrity, credibility, character, generosity, and competence are the building blocks of the trust necessary to network beyond superficial exchange of business cards.

Successful networking is being achieved by the people who can sustain conversation beyond any given professional event. Successful networking is best accomplished by those most comfortable with being themselves.

Join us for the discussion. 

Natural Networking
Week #1: Rethinking Networking for a New Economy
Week #2: The Disconnect of Techniques and Formulas
Week #3: Fostering Conversations and Discovering Connections
Week #4: Keeping Conversations Context Appropriate
Week #5: Being Yourself, Your Greatest Asset

Listen in.