Bad Networking Vs. Good Networking

I had the privilege of being the opening speaker at the Sixth Annual Small Business Summit earlier this month and delivered a take-home value session on marketing. The audience was engaged and asked great questions.

Following my session, literally dozens of attendees approached me with questions, comments and introductions. For those of you who are reluctant to publicly speak, I urge you to re-consider. There aren’t many better ways to promote yourself and your brand.

With that said, I followed up with many of the people who gave me business cards and was able to put these new contacts into two categories — bad networker and good networker. The bad networker was the person who tried to sell me something or, at least, make an appointment to pitch me. Without considering my needs or interests, they went right into their elevator pitch.

On the other hand, the good networker was the person who wanted to help me. Make an introduction. Share a tip. Or even recommend a client.  These savvy people understand that, in order to get, you need to first give. The rule of reciprocity dictates that, when someone does something helpful for you, you feel socially obligated to reciprocate. That’s why a good network always looks to help out his or her new contact, rather than “make the sale”.

Next time you attend an event, give it a try. Give to get and see what happens.

For more information about good networking, I highly recommend “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi, the single best book on networking that I have ever read.

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