A recent discussion thread on one of my LinkedIn groups posed a question that ended up being more interesting than I thought it would be. “What’s the single most important thing to remember about networking?” Now some of you ‘techies’ might be thinking about a different kind of networking, but this was directed toward personal networking. Normally I’ll pass over looking at a question like this, but there were already 13 comments in less than a week. Thinking I might find something interesting I took a look.
Anyway, this got me thinking about networking; and, wondering what you readers might have to say about it. A good friend of mine who owns one of the biggest downtown Houston catering companies and is also a prolific networker says something very simple after getting to know someone. He simply says, “How can I help you?” That simple phrase has led him on some incredible networking journeys. One was getting an introduction to someone who is “just a bank teller” that eventually led to meeting a couple of very high-level corporate executives.
There were the usual comments about relationship building and so forth. One comment said to make sure you smile because it communicates your karma…your energy level. Well, I think it’s always a good idea to smile; but, I’m not really sure if it communicates my karma. Most of the time I’m really not sure what my karma is.
There were a couple comments that were more interesting. Like the one that suggested to be more strategic in planning before going to a networking opportunity. Learn all you can about who will be attending (not always possible), research the sponsoring firms, meet the event host, and be prepared with resources to share. Those were some pretty good suggestions.
My question to you dear readers is simply this – What is most helpful to you in your networking? Comment below and share the wealth of knowledge that you all have.