Get to “Know” People and Grow Your Connections

Networking is a process with one ultimate goal in mind … you want to build relationships that will be mutually beneficial over time.

People do business with people that they know, like, and trust.

The very first step then, to networking, is getting to “know” people.  Notice, I did not say that you need people to know who you are.  Not yet, anyway.  People will remember you more for your listening skills and because you took time to get to know them.

I talk alot about networking being about giving more than it is about getting.  And some folks take that to mean that you should give everything away and not get anything in return.  That’s not what I’m talking about at all.

Most times, the greatest gift that you can give to someone is to listen intently and with interest.  Focus in on this person and really hear what they are talking about.  And do not let the chatter in your head take over.  Listen. Comment on what you’ve heard.  Ask more probing questions.  Listen some more.  All it costs you is your time.  And the knowledge you gain can often be the spark of information that you need to connect the person that you are learning about with another person that they need to know.

Some ideas on how to get to know people better:

  • Invite people to go to coffee or to lunch with you either one on one or in a small group of 3 or 4 other people
  • Invite a client to drive with you to an event – you’ll get more time to chat while you drive and you’ll save gasoline and you may even get to ride in the carpool lane
  • Offer to join a client or a new acquaintance at the gym, or at the golf course, or some other location where you can mix excercise with talking
  • Go to a seminar together and share notes and ideas during the breaks

There are many opportunities outside of networking events to get together with people that you would like to get to know more about.  Use your imagination.  And remember to use your ears in direct proportion to your mouth.  Listen twice as much as you talk … and you’ll truly be in the know.

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