Tuesday, December 6, 2022

How to “Not” Work a Room

For Tech-savvy Professionals Who Want to Make Networking Events Less Stressful and More Productive!

Most tech-savvy professionals who attend a business ‘networking’ event are clueless about how to network.

Most have no OBJECTIVE / PLAN to capitalize on the opportunities that may exist in the room.

Most leave such events frustrated and convinced that ‘networking’ doesn’t work.

To change that, here are five basic rules to make it easier for you to get something from your ‘networking’ opportunities.

Rule 1:Most of the people in the room are NOT people you want or need to contact again – In any public meeting, the odds are that most people there cannot or will not be good ‘partners’ for your networking. They either don’t know the kind of people you want to meet, they lack the potency you need to meet them favorably, or they aren’t willing to connect you to their contacts. If you are trying to network with people who cannot or will not help you, you’re hopeless! But here’s the ‘Good News’ . . . you don’t need or want to connect with ‘everyone’ . . . just the ‘someones’ who are suitable to work with you. And they won’t ever be the majority of any room of strangers.

Rule 2: Seek to give rather than get – People who are seeking to get something from others are quickly seen as the thoughtless, emotional leeches we all know they are! Don’t be one. Take the posture that you’re seeking to see if you can help another person gain introductions to the kind of people they want to meet. You’ll blow away the people you meet who won’t know what to make of you . . . but they’ll love you for it!

Rule 3: Seek out people who can help you and vice versa; anything less is unacceptable – While you’ll posture yourself as seeking to give first and get in return, you must be sure you will be able to ‘get’ Referrals from another person, or you’ll be very unhappy and end up with nothing to show for all your hard work in meeting with strangers in the room. Don’t forget –– you’re seeking people who are calling on the very same kind of people you are (but, in a non-competitive capacity).

Rule 4: Seek to DIS-qualify rather than qualify – This is what has given more people the ‘nerve’ to meet strangers than anything else. Make it your ‘mission’ to meet people with a presumption that they are NOT qualified for you to invest any further time, energy or money trying to get to know better. See. Isn’t that a relief! As you now know, unless you can help someone and they can help you . . . you’re wasting someone’s time . . . and most likely it’s gonna be yours. Don’t do that to yourself — or anyone else!

Rule 5: Have an OBJECTIVE and a PLAN to achieve it – OK, so what is your objective and how do you plan to achieve it when you’re ‘networking’ a room full of strangers?

First, your objectives. I’m going to suggest three to keep it SIMPLE!

  1. “Move through the room as quickly as possible” – In any large room there’s a good chance you won’t meet everyone. There’s also a good chance you’ll find a lot of people who will take more of your time than you need to give them. So ‘keep on moving’ is a great guideline that you’ll learn how to satisfy in a moment.
  2. “Identify potential networking partners, NOT prospects” – Again, you’ll need to know how to spot these people from the ‘crowd’. It’s relatively easy if . . . you know how to ask questions of the people you meet at an event (see below!)
  3. “Follow-up with the people you want to add to your network” – You know you’re not to network there, right? So don’t do it. Instead, get their information and set a time / place to meet again where you can really ‘sell’ yourself to one another.

Arm yourself with questions you’ll PLAN to use to achieve your OBJECTIVES! Here they are:

OPENERS: These are questions that help you to ‘break the ice’. If you’re shy about approaching strangers, know that most other people feel just as you do. So take the initiative and ask questions to ‘start a conversation’. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easily you’ll be in the middle of conversation with a stranger!

QUALIFIERS: These are THE questions you’ll use to reach your objectives.

  1. Firm / Business: You want to know where they’re working and what they’re doing. If their company is one that has a number of good clients who may be prospects for you, that’s important for you to know. It suggests someone worthy of more time on your part!
  2. Position . . . in their firm: You want to know if you’re talking with a principal player or a ‘second stringer’. If it’s the ‘player’, that’s good. If not, you may want to use an ‘Ender’ fairly quickly.
  3. Length of time . . . in their firm: If they say they haven’t been in the firm all that long, ask them where they were before joining this firm. In their prior capacity, they may have an extensive network of contacts that you might find very attractive.
  4. Ideal Prospect: This is the KEY issue, isn’t it? Unless you’re talking with someone you can help, all efforts will be for naught. After suggesting that you might know some people they should be meeting . . . through your influence and prestige, of course . . . you’ll be in a good position to know that they can probably reciprocate with you.

ENDERS: Self-explanatory. You need an ‘exit strategy’. These are your ‘tactics’ to get free. Use them!

Bottomline… Networking is not that difficult to do, IF . . . you have a clear set of OBJECTIVES and a PLAN to reach them.