Start from the Beginning: Don’t Skip the Basics
Networking starts with people skills. If you don’t have any, you’ll need to develop some. Don’t worry; it’s not as difficult as is sounds. There are some very useful books that deal with this subject and I suggest that you read a few if you are serious about developing relationships to further your business goals. Here are my two favorites and a bit about them.
From Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
- Don’t think negative of others
Six Ways to Make People Like You
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person’s name is, to him or her, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in the terms of the other person’s interest.
- Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.
The difference you will see is amazing when you approach people with an interest in what they need instead of what you want. The advice given by Dale Carnegie seems like common sense behavior (in fact I had learned most of the principles in this book from my mother), but I continue to be shocked by the behavior of people who don’t follow these simple rules. There is nothing worse than someone approaching me at a networking event and talking only about themselves, shoving a business card in my hand, and then walking away without even bothering to learn my name. Explain why I would possibly be motivated to connect with this person? Even if they are offering something I need, I will find another source to get it.
People want to welcome people into their network that will work well with their clients and other connections. They want to connect with people who are sincere and approachable- people whose personality projects common courtesy and professionalism. It’s easy to refer people who will reflect well; it’s hard to refer a valuable client or friend to someone who is completely self-interested and hard to deal with.
From Frank Bettger’s How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling:
HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE WANT TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU
20. An Idea I Learned From Lincoln Helped Me Make Friends
21. I Became More Welcome Everywhere When I Did This
22. How I Learned to Remember Names and Faces
23. The Biggest Reason Why Salesmen Lose Business
24. This Interview Taught Me How to Overcome My Fear of Approaching Big Men
Summary — Part Four
Frank Bettger’s book is ostensibly for sales people, but know this: in networking everyone is in sales. Regardless of your occupation, when networking you are selling the idea of you to others. It is a good use of time to learn how to present yourself in a way that is appealing to your audience. I found the entire book fascinating and the applications are endless; the skills learned are useful in business and personal relationships. This is honestly one of the most useful books that I have ever read (and I have read a LOT).
Hint: Pay special attention to chapter 22. How I Learned to Remember Names and Faces
The “faces” part may not translate directly into online marketing, but remembering someone when you meet them again is priceless whether online or off. I actually find it easier online, since you can archive important facts and people and easily find them later for reference. Taking notes inconspicuously is a bit trickier in a fast paced social situation face-to-face!
What are your favorite “people skills” books? How have you used what you learned?