Networking Tips From The Front – Part II

This time I will cover the different types of net-worker, see if you know anyone like this, be honest;

  • The Frightened rabbit – probably not used to meeting up for business or ‘Net work virgins’, start by giving them a smile and asking what they do, people are often passionate about their business, (if they are not, I get suspicious).
  • The Card Shark. Bustles into the room (often loud and late) and throws his/her card at anyone and everyone. I tend to drop these straight in the bin!
  • The Martyr. Often so busy giving a ‘woe is me’ story out, they actually forget to mention what they do, or ask you the same.
  • The Hunter – A very driven person (often almost aggressive in their approach) who is only interested in talking with people who will help him/her personally. They will go down the delegate list, tick off their victims and pounce, ignoring the rest of us.
  • The ‘Expert’ – I have mentioned this type before, I am always more than a little wary of anyone calling themselves an expert as businesses are forever changing and evolving. Take what they say under advisement, it may be gold or it may be ‘so last year’!
  • The Braggart – so busy telling you how successful they are and what they do, you will not get a word in edgeways! Often this type is very dismissive of what you do, or not even interested!
  • The Alpha – a person who everyone else seems to gravitate towards and often a great source off information on a wide variety of subjects, also a great source of leads. Beware though, for some this power goes to their heads.
  • The Beta. Around many Alphas, you will get a few ‘adoring fans’ who take their every word as gospel, make up your own mind on what is useful to you.
  • The Serial Net-workers – I am often staggered that some people manage to get any work done, this type will be at every meeting you attend! This is not particularly a bad thing as they will probably have a good idea who the right people to talk to are, and who to avoid.The connectors, I see myself somewhat in this role and I encourage you to include some of this in your ‘networking toolbox’. I personally enjoy connecting people who may share a common goal, or be looking for someone in a certain field that I have formed a KLT (Know, Like and Trust) relationship with. Whilst this may not bring you instant results, many in business remember who connected them and will return the favour somewhere down the road.

Just like the types of event, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but will help you (I hope) spot a few types in your group. The thing to be said here is that we may all have a few of these traits, but if you identify with just one, it may be time to strip back your network techniques.

The essence of true networking is not to gain immediate gratification, but to forge links, friendships and partnerships that will become mutually beneficial at some point. Understand this simple point and you will be a true net-worker.

Next time I will talk about techniques, what to take with you, and what to leave at home!

Networking Tips From The Front – Part I

Let me first address the naysayers who will tell you ‘I don’t do networking..’ So let me get this straight, these are people who don’t have any family (network) or friends (network) or suppliers (network) or groups that they attend for their hobby (network) etc! I think that you get the point. Unless we live in a cave somewhere with no communication to the outside, we ALL have networks that we interact with on a daily basis. The only difference with a business network is that we go there to get more business, though this is not always apparent with some groups.

For the past year, I’ve been looking into networking for our business and I will share with you some of the things that I’ve learned over the next few blogs. This time, the types of event. Whilst I cannot speak for every network, I’ve seen a great array of different techniques. Let me first say that there are many horror stories attached to different groups, but like everything else in life and business, it is best to try these for yourself first as not all will work for you or your particular business.

  • The Formal networking groups. A perfect example of these is BNI. These groups often have a set script which is used at every meeting as it has been proven to work for the majority of members. An interesting point to remember with such organisations is the fact that every guideline has been introduced by the members and is a tried and trusted method for producing more business.
  • The Semi-formal groups. These often meet over a meal and have a greatly scaled down script, being 50% business and 50% pleasure. These groups enable you to get to know a little more about the people that you may be looking to do business with in a more informal setting.
  • The trade only groups. I have heard of but never attended these, but have heard that these are often very well used in the chemicals industries and some manufacturing concerns.
  • Same sex groups. These are mainly women only groups and help those who only prefer to deal with someone of the same sex or are just dipping their toe in the water of networking.
  • Informal groups. These are a weird breed. Many of them will adamantly say that they are not meeting up for business, but the very fact that you are all sat around a large table discussing what you do, will surely lead to some alliances being forged. I have attended quite a few of these and my only concern is that if you want to speak with someone the next time, you cannot be sure that they will be there.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope that it gives you some idea of what different networking groups are like. Next time I will look at the different characters that we meet whilst networking. In the meantime, get yourself out there and meet some folks, you will not generate more business doodling on your note pad whilst looking at cute kitten pictures online!