Louise Lemin's blog

Seek relevant groups and connections

Identify and target groups and connections which are relevant to your aims and capabilities.

Relevance can be according to several different things, for example: geography, size, sector, social grouping, political or religious grouping, trade or society grouping, academic or technical grouping, and other common interests. 

Be different and ambitious

You need to refine your offering so that it is strongly differentiated from what is already available in the market-place, whatever your market-place is.

If there is no special difference between you and other providers, then people have no reason whatsoever to choose to work with you.

Describe yourself

This is commonly called an 'elevator speech' or 'elevator pitch'.

If you were to meet a potentially important contact for the first time in an elevator at a conference and he/she asks you: "What do you do?"

Life balance

A healthy balance in your life - of work, pleasure, business, social, etc - promotes and gives off a feeling of well-being, which is helpful for networking in many ways:

- you will be at ease and relaxed, and this transfers to others

- you will be able to engage and respond in lots of ways with lots of people

Be a positive influence

Be positive. Use positive language.

Smile. See the good in people. Be known as a really positive person. It rubs off on others and people will warm to you for being so.

Keep your emotional criticisms of others and personal hang-ups to yourself. Speak ill of no-one. Be passionate and enthusiastic, but not emotional or subjective.

Follow up your commitments and promises

There are two main reasons for the importance of following up:

1. Networking only produces good results when it is followed up.

2. Following up with contacts builds trust, reputation, and relationships.

Put negatively, to emphasise the points:

1. Networkers who meet people and never follow up are wasting their time.

Plan your networking

Know what you want - manage it.

All projects need managing.

Business networking is a project, and so it needs managing. You can use various tools to manage your networking.

You must manage your networking, or it will manage you.

Some people plan with shapes and connections on a big sheet of paper. Others prefer a spreadsheet. Use whatever you find comfortable.