You know the dos and don’ts of networking. But do you know the befores and afters? Being friendly and open to people you meet is all well and good, but that doesn’t capture them.
Remember, research is bait – it’s not about treating people the way YOU want to be treated. It’s about treating them the way THEY want to be treated. Nothing puts you in their shoes like thorough research. Begin by
Naming the nameless – before you can network you need to understand who the people are that you are meeting. You can’t do too much research
Playing the field – don’t just learn where people stand in their fields of work but also learn the latest news in that field. A young Dhiren Katwa (senior news editor of Asian Voice) made this mistake when interviewing Frank Dobson who was a candidate for the mayor of London. He asked him what he would do differently – when the role had only been created that year. Proper research would have meant better questions and less embarrassment
Learn about peoples’ lives in general. This helps to adjust your behaviour to theirs.
Connect the dots – can you think of anyone you already know who would interest your potential contact? Maybe you can introduce business to them?
Do not copy and paste – there is no point learning all of the above if you do not apply it. Talk about each other rather than to each other. Be genuine with people don’t just regurgitate Google! This leads on to the next step and what to do after you have made contacts
Build credibility – this is a long, continuous process of trust building. An important thing to remember is delivery. ALWAYS deliver on promises you have made.
If you’ve read this far I take it your research has already begun. I would love to hear about how useful these methods have been for you. Do you have a story about effective ways of building credibility?