Is networking dating for professionals?
Networking is all about connecting with people.
That’s it. It’s about finding relationships.
But, like dating, with the wrong mentality and approach, it can be pretty awful.
Authenticity counts - if you really want to build business relationships with people, you need to be authentic. Developing a genuine relationship creates trust and a strong bond. Creating strong relationships is a process of honesty, commitment, loyalty, and growth that starts with being culturally sensitive, respectful, and wise.
The tendency today is that we expect things to happen immediately through social media, text or emails, but not in person.
In truth, online dating and networking is an easy way for anybody to connect. It’s
anonymous and secretive, you can be anybody online.
Fast and loose is not always the long term solution to being successful. Good networking is about long-term relationships, not one night stands. Take the time to get to know people. If you think longer term, you’ll hopefully connect with the real people and develop real, lasting relationships and friendships.
7 Tips for Successful Networking (and Dating)
1. You'll Blow It If You're Overly Eager
Resist the urge to be starry eyed or you risk signalling that your prospect holds all the cards. Even if they do have the upper hand, it's preferable to be engaged yet slightly cool.
2. You Can Learn More By Listening Than Talking
Networking, like dating, should be a give and take, not a one-sided conversation. Active listening will take you a lot further than outlining your five-year-plan for what seems like five years.
3. Highlighting Your Positive Attributes Is A Must
You know you're a decent person and good at what you do, so don't be too modest. A good match is made when each party can successfully reveal what their strengths are to the other, without showing off or being arrogant.
4. Fearing Failure Won't Get You Anywhere
Whether you go on 100 bad dates or to 100 fruitless networking meetings, being positive and confident will get you through.
5. Trust Your Instincts
If someone seems too good to be true, they probably are. Ask good questions, do your ‘due diligence’ and check things out.
6. If You Want To See Them Again, Follow Up
There’s nothing worse than meeting someone you get on with, or going on a great first date, that ends with you thinking you’ve made a great connection – only to never hear from them again. Business networking is no different. It’s incredibly annoying, not to mention unprofessional, to meet someone who promises to follow up, but then doesn’t.
7. You Have To Kiss A Lot Of Frogs To Meet Your Prince/Princess
Like dating, networking is a numbers game, and for every match that fizzles there's a work prospect that doesn't quite work out. The more work frogs you metaphorically kiss, the more business princes you're likely to meet.
So, to sum up, nothing beats having a delightful personal conversation.
Be engaging, credible and responsive.
Nothing beats shaking someone’s hand and engaging face to face to establish rapport and develop trust.
Be genuine. Be you.
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