Wednesday, 24 October 2012

‘Networking’ – Homing Pigeon, Limpet, Blackberry Hugger, Consummate – recognise yourself?

Everyone can network, for me its just how much individuals enjoy networking that varies. For some, it elicits joy as they’re bang in their comfort zone, loving to work-the-room; but for others the mere word strikes them with fear and loathing and creates small beads of sweat. 
Whether you love networking or want to confine it to Room 101, being better connected through strong networks breeds business success. Evaluation of our new business leads here at Cirkle shows that 85% come from advocacy: positive word-of-mouth and recommendation from people we’ve worked with and impressed, including current clients, past clients, ex colleagues, media, suppliers and associates.

So do you recognise what type of event networker you or your colleagues are from our list below?

  • THE HOMING PIGEON – hangs around the people they know all night
  • THE RABBIT IN THE HEADLIGHTS - nervous, limp handshake, doesn’t want   to be there
  • BLACKBERRY HUGGER – immersed in their mobile
  • NETWORK BORE – dominates the conversation, mostly about themselves - loudly
  • MBT – Married to the Buffet Table to seek refuge
  • MTB – same as MBT but Married To Booze to pass the time 
  • LOUNGE LIZARD – ‘nuff said 
  • THE LIMPET – locates a friendly face and sticks to that person for the rest of the night
  • THE BUTTERFLY – flits from group to group without engaging in meaningful conversations
  • THE CONSUMMATE  - the networking pro

Networking has grown up and evolved, it’s not just about attending events with the obligatory glass in one hand and unwieldy canapé in the other.  In fact so many things can be turned into networking opportunities, and it doesn’t have to end at ‘who you know’, it’s about who ‘who you know’ may know. For example one of our ex-client’s sisters knew someone at ‘one of our dream prospects’ who went on to become one of our biggest clients. Or,  one of our suppliers was married to someone at a business we wanted to target, that went on to become a client… you get the gist.

As well as physical networking, it’s about working the net to build these two-way relationships. Six degrees of separation is reduced to 4.74 for Facebook users and 3.43 for Twitter, whilst for Linked In, having 170 connections can put you at the centre of a powerful, professional network of over 2 million users.

Our Chairman, Caroline Kinsey’s, black book is proof of her consummate status of connectivity. She’s shared some of her insights here:

Increase the number of ‘conversation’ opportunities

Compile a database of contacts, including where you met, when, who, how, why and interesting facts about that person

Strategically map out timing touch points for regular dialogue, be it meetings, online forums, sponsorships, socials, memberships, events, phone etc

Track ex-clients, ex-colleagues, faded contacts, anyone of interest and mutual value.  At events, be generous – introduce people to each other; approach people who are on their own

Take new contacts with you to meet others in the room; if someone’s looking lost, invite them to join your posse

Feed people’s need to talk about themselves

Go pre armed with interesting questions; comment on the day’s news - have a point of view; remember it’s not a sales pitch, so hone your elevator speech and….

Always follow up connections the next day.

So up the engagement ante and get connecting by networking the b’jesus out of life; it’ll reap rewards.  And finally, some food for thought  …  ask yourself how you’d like people to remember you once they’ve met you.

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