Archive for the 'networking' Category

Displaying Personal Presence at networking events

Last week I attended a number networking events and was surprised at how badly some people use them to make contact with people. At one I was monopolised by someone desperate for an appointment to sell their product to me and was sticking to me like glue. After a boring fifteen minutes I managed to introduce him to someone that, on relection, I’m sure was a waiter and then I managed to move away.

At another meeting I met a very nice couple who subsequently told me that they wanted to meet me  again because I was “the only person that looked as if they were having fun”

A lot of my Senior Executive mentoring time is spent on creating “personal presence” and a personal brand image and this includes how to network.

The most common mistakes we talk about are:

  • Monopolising a single person (Between 5 and 10 minutes is generally enough before inviting someone else to join the conversation in order to to create a larger group)
  • Describing what you do and your benefits to a potential prospect in more than 21 words (rambling and ill constructed descriptions are boring and confusing. If it takes more than 15 seconds to say it’s time wasted)
  • Not acting as a host to the group (leading the group by initiating introductions, leading topics and making sure that everyone gets to say something)
  • Being too serious (only wanting to talk about business. Have fun and make sure others are having fun too)
  • Handing out business cards instead of collecting them
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The importance of Internal networking

Last night I was the invited guest speaker at a Director’s network meeting in London and was speaking on internal networking. Feedback from the talk was excellent and I was delighted that the group seemed to gain so much.

It came as no surprise that those leading organisations find internal networking as difficult as everyone else. The group told me that:

  1. There often isn’t enough time to network and complete the daily “to do” list
  2. The difficulty is often to get other areas of the business to recognise one’s worth

In this respect the difficulties are shared with everyone else. However, a strategy of internal networking is essential if one is to have two or three vocal and continuous supporters in each area of the business. If one has then one gains support when things are difficult, forgiven more easily for mistakes and job security is increased.

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Job insecurity still the biggest concern

With the UK Government saying that the public sector cuts are likely to “affect the way people live in the UK for years to come” it’s not surprising that job security has risen to the the top of people’s concerns.

The problem is that too often people feel helpless about the situation. After all, it’s the boss and company performance that dictate job security and too often an employee feels unable to affect either.

The advice that I am giving to friends is to develop their network. It is after all, through a network of contacts that most people find their next job. Having a strong network is essential if you are to get the help yopu need when things go “pear shaped”.

However, a network is not just a list of names in one’s address book. It’s the engagement and trust that’s built up that is important.

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