Saturday, March 26, 2011

RecruiterGuy’s Top 11 Tips for Successful Networking

As the author of “RecruiterGuy’s Guide to Finding a Job” and as a professional recruitment consultant since 1981, there have been many times when I observed people “working the room” while attempting to effectively network with others.

Most times they have been ineffective because they are more interested in quantity than quality relationship building. These are the people who are similar to the opera soloist warming up as they meet people – ME, ME, ME, ME-E-E! You have met them too often.

Successful networking requires building a relationship. Truly effective networkers strive for in person opportunities to network. The more senses a person uses when they meet you, the more likely they will remember you. Remember our smell sense works well in determining whether someone will remember you; and How they will remember you.

1) Everyone is a prospective candidate for networking. We all need to meet someone to propel our career or business forward. I am thrilled when I am able to introduce two people who become wildly successful as a result of that introduction. You don’t know who that seatmate on a flight knows.

2) List everyone that you know currently and from your past – high school, college, sports, first job, other jobs, neighbors, etc. You know more people than you realize.

3) Prepare yourself for networking conversations. List everything you do well professionally and personally. Place asterisks next to things you do well and like to do. Then create a story from your experience that demonstrates that skill or attribute. People remember stories better than facts.

4) Dress is a sign of respect. Subconsciously we measure an approaching individual by their dress, level of confidence, and expression. It happens automatically. You have the power to make it more positive, simply by dressing with respect.

5) Give is the attitude that successful networkers project. When you give, you receive. What you give is what you receive.

6) Focus on the other person. Listen to them. Process what they are saying. Offer suggestions.

7) Eye contact is very important. How often have you experienced a conversation when someone kept looking around? How did you feel about their interest in you?

8) Interview the person in front of you. Ask them probing questions. Why did you choose this field? What is your greatest challenge right now? How may my contacts help you?

9) Here I Am! Speech is your elevator speech or one minute commercial. Note this is number 9 because your focus needs to be on the other person. Prepare a quick discussion of your experience and accomplishments to help that person frame where they may help, discuss your current situation in a sentence and then tell them where you could use some contact help.

10) Communicate with the person in front of you. Right now they are the most important person in the room. Treat them as such.

11) Thank them for their thoughts and their help. Ask them for a card and email them that evening to thank them again.

Using these 11 points will help you consistently help more people; and as a result receive more targeted referrals.