When in business, the ability to network is by far one of the greatest assets needed as an entrepreneur. The world is said to run on money but I’d like to think that it runs on the pure ability of communication. The reason being, we speak to pitch our ideas, we speak to convince others that we have what they need & we speak to gain capital for our ventures. Meaning that if you aspire to become a successful entrepreneur you must learn “The Art of Networking“.
Networking can be somewhat of a tricky thing. It can either make or break business relationships at an instant. Remember it all comes down to how someone perceives what you have to say. For instance you would not talk in the same manner to someone from two different cultures at the risk of offending anyone. Here are 5 of the most common networking mistakes as shown on Inc.com with some additional commentary.
1) Try to take before you give.
NEVER try to take something that you have not earned. The point of networking is to CONNECT with the people that you NEED. For this you will need to forget what you want and focus on the need of your prospective contact to build a mutually beneficial connection
2) Assume others should care about your needs.
No one will care more about what you need than yourself. So never assume that someone will come to the aid of your problems. You may gain sympathy but when it comes down to business they are not responsible.
The lesson of give and you shall receive could not be used at a better time such as this.
3) Take the shotgun approach.
What are numbers if you cannot use those numbers to generate leads? Some people think that to network is to simply hand a business card and ask someone you’ve never met to keep in touch. That is asking to be easily forgotten.
Become SELECTIVE when it comes to connections. The human brain isn’t designed to hold 10,000+ contacts in your memory bank. So ALWAYS assume that you are FORGETTABLE, follow up at a timely fashion.
4) Assume tools create connections.
The power of the internet is immense. As proven by 100’s of overnight internet sensations. With tools like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook Fan Pages & LinkedIn, who know’s where it’ll take you. But do keep in mind, will it really help define you? Things can easily be misinterpreted.
Calling someone is great but there is nothing like the good old fashion Face-to-Face. Body language tells a lot about a persons intention. An e-mail will not.
5) Reach too high.
Have RELEVANT connections, people that can help you reach your goals and you theirs. Forget about how successful someone may be, it is completely irrelevant. Truth of the matter is you might not have much to offer them. So why should they help you?
As you see networking is essential. It is nothing less than a form of art for entrepreneurs. Master it and you shall reach your goals.