Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How to Win At Networking

From The Toronto Star , "Why winning is a mental construct":

Peterson thinks that, when parents tell their kids "It's not who wins by how you play the game," they actually mean, "If you play the game properly, people will invite you to play a lot of different games."

I read the whole article.

The two hours we spend at a networking meeting is not about making a sale - not in the dollars-for-service sense, at any rate.

The only sale we hope to make is selling ourselves.

I reckon that if I establish three solid (meaningful, with well-defined future value) contacts at a two-hour event I've done well.

Jay discovered he lost his job during the break in the event; Jay is a valuable contact because (a) he knows people in his industry but now feels less constrained about sharing them with me and (b) Jay is hungry for work, either permanent of part-time, and I can help him there. In short, we are now in a position to help each other, which is a good foundation for a relationship.

Phillip hands me a card with his private details on it, not his corporate (Scotiabank) details. There is a hidden message there; Philip is thinking of jumping ship. See "Jay" above".

Conan and I chatted before the meeting AND I took his coat by mistake at the end; if that's not the start of a relationship (wearing some other guy's coat!) I don't know what is.

The game of networking is NOT to spray as many business cards as possible, It is to meet your goal of good new contacts.

How many is reasonable? I believe that a ten-minute conversation is required to start to get to know someone. If you have 20 minutes before the speaker, 20 minutes during the break, and 20 minutes after the speaker, 3 contacts is really your maximum.

If on your return to the home office you hold 3 cards, each one representing a solid chance at chatting by phone or meeting for coffee within the next month, then you've won the game.

Now let's play again ....

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