I shared my hacks at the ATD Puget Sound Summer Networking Extravaganza - read on for some easy tips to change networking from frustrating to fruitful.
Most people approach networking with mindsets 1 and 2...usually because we wait to network until we really, desperately need help. But you're unlikely to get the right help from someone you just met. The right help usually comes from someone with whom you already have a relationship. You can meet tons of people regardless your mindset...but unsurprisingly, the most successful relationship builders are from the 4th category: the Givers.
Adam summarized with this simple advice:
Don’t focus on what you can get. Focus on what you can give.
The Mind Hack to Improve your Networking
My favorite way to help people change to this 4th mindset is:
Pretend the person you're going to meet is your customer.
When you frame someone as a customer, you become more inquisitive, more empathetic, and you want to help them solve their problems. This quote attributed to Dale Carnegie really sums it up:
To apply this simple mindset hack, mentally set up the following scenario:
If this person were my customer,
what would I want to know about them?
What questions would I ask?
The great thing about this mindset is that it doesn't just help you set the foundation for strong new relationships - it's also a great way to improve those existing relationships.
The Speech Hack to Improve your Networking
The speech hack is a two-parter. First...
STOP leading with questions like "Where do you work?" and "What do you do?
We ask those questions because they're easy, but the answers are usually boring and don't generate further conversation. Instead, use a question that cuts straight to the person's interests, motivations, and needs. Here are my four favorites:
For more ideas, check out Networking 101: How to make a connection.
Interested in a workshop on Mind + Speech Networking Hacks? Contact me!