You’ve Been Doing It Wrong-Networking the Right Way
Anyone entering into the business world is told to network. “You gotta network”; Networking is the key”; “You need to network”. I would have to agree with these statement…but. How is networking conducted? That’s the tricky part.
There is a famous statement: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want”, writes Zig Ziglar. I have to say that I truly believe this statement. If you study ancient text, they all say this, in one fashion or another. There is more to it however, than just going around helping other people, but I’ll come back to this later.
In 2007, Beth Sowell and I started with nothing and had no business contacts, so networking was crucial for us. We went to every networking event possible. We wasted lots of time with the Charlotte Chamber (what a joke that was). We wasted time on this networking event or that networking event, and we didn’t get very far. Here’s why.
UNDERSTANDING THE PSYCHOLOGY
Human Beings only care about themselves. It’s a hard fact, but one that is scientifically proven over and over again. In scientific terms, the only thing that Human Beings care about is the release of the neurotransmitters – Serotonin and Dopamine. We eat good tasting foods, we drink tasty beverages, we fall in love, we have kids, we buy things. All of these things release these neurotransmitters. What does this have to do with networking? Stay with me. It’s a game that we all play but very few understand.
Let’s go back in time for just a minute; back to high school. I was your average teenager. I was full of hormones and on the prowl. I would talk to someone that I found attractive and offer to carry her books. Why in the world would I want to add extra weight to my daily routine? I knew that she liked it (release of neurotransmitters). Once the release of those brain chemicals, she associated those pleasant feelings with me. Bingo…a connection.
Now, let’s fast forward to present day during a networking event, except it’s now an attraction to do business with someone and not earn a kiss. Let's stand back and watch the typical networking interaction, see if you can tell what went wrong.
TYPICAL NETWORKING INTERACTION
Company A (Margaret’s Marketing) begins the interaction with company B (Papa Pino’s Pizza Parlor). Margaret introduces herself and shoves her business card in Papa Pino’s face and begins her 30 second elevator speech. Did you see anything out of the ordinary? This is the typical networking interaction. Here’s where she failed. She did nothing to facilitate the release of Papa Pino’s brain chemistry. How could it have turn out differently?
Let’s look at it from another perspective: Margaret approaches Papa Pino and introduces herself…her name only. She then asks him his name and his occupation. Papa Pino couldn’t care less about Margaret as this point. Once Papa Pino answers Margret, who may have never heard of the restaurant, could respond by saying something like: “Oh, where are you located? I’m always up for some good pizza” (after all, who isn’t always up for some good pizza). BINGO; the neurons are now firing. Now you have begun to get Papa Pino to talk about himself, and that’s great, but proceed with caution.
The subconscious is very attuned to much more than our conscience minds are, and can even detect pour size changes on your face, so being real is paramount. If you’re just going through the motions, Papa Pino will know. People don’t care about you, until they know that you care about them. Honestly get to know the other person. Make a friend. Make a connection.
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want” ~ Zig Ziglar. If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve probably heard this phrase before. It’s a powerful mantra…if you use it correctly.
Episode 11 Productions has helped many people since 2007. We’ve produced countless video resumes for people out of work, created websites for people, etc. (we don’t offer this service, just trying to help). We got a really good feeling by helping other people (release of serotonin). We were also taken advantage of by many people, even other businesses, but that's ok, because we now have a plan of action.
PLAN OF ACTION
Over the years, we’ve developed a process that allows a good strong start to making a great connection, and I’d like to share those with you now:
- Introduction of yourself with a smile and a matching handshake (you should try to match the other person’s grip, not over or under power it)
- Ask for their business card and look at it. Put the face with the name.
- During the conversations, remember something important to them and write it on the back of the business card. Perhaps it’s an upcoming event for one of their children…that’s always important to them.
- Research their business. Find a way to do something small that may make their life a bit easier. We always see if we can take a few pictures or create a small 3D model for them.
- Reach out and offer to provide the small service at no cost.
- Stay in touch with non-business communication.
In time, as the relationship progresses, one of two things will happen.
- They will remember you and reach out to you when the need arises for your services.
- They will take what you did for them and disappear.
Either way, you got something out of it. You helped someone and that very act made you feel good. Even if you don’t conduct any business, perhaps you’ve made a new friend. We’ve made TV shows, documentaries and a feature film by working this way and I invite you to give it a try.