David ibnAle accredits much of his success to his ability to develop strong relationships and leverage the power of his network. ... read more
4 Power Tips To Grow Your Network Faster
Networking is part and parcel to success in any walk of life. Research has revealed that networking is vital to entrepreneurial success for the vast majority of startups (78%). It also shows that 85% of jobs are filled through networking.
Regardless of your career, networking impacts your success. It pays to craft and hone strategies that enable you to become a more effective networker. Here are four tips to jump-start your journey to becoming a more successful networker.
1. Do your research
Arriving at a networking event unprepared is a recipe for disappointment. With only so much time, it’s not feasible to meet and forge relationships with everyone. The most effective networkers arrive at networking events prepared with a well-crafted strategy. They leverage relationship intelligence to not only understand who will be in the room, but also how and to what extent they are connected to them. By using tools like Affinity, they’re able to determine which relationships have the highest potential value and are thus able to spend their time on the biggest impact opportunities.
2. Be an energizer
Successful networkers are energizers. When people feel engaged and invigorated by a strong sense of purpose they're more likely to propose suggestions and offer resources that give rise to innovation. Successful networkers focus on imbuing their environment with energy. An important part of being an energizer involves sharing half-baked ideas. The most successful networkers engage their network early when ideas are only partially developed. Doing so enables them to gain early buy-in and excitement and solicit others to join in their excitement.
Did you know that only about 10% of us listen effectively? The odds are high that you’re not as an effective of a listener as you could be. For most people (extroverts especially), the natural impulse is to speak first and listen second. Even when we think that we are listening, we’re often just thinking about how we can respond, make a judgement, or share our own personal anecdotes.
Research has revealed that there are two distinct types of listening: listening to respond and listening to understand. Most people listen to respond. The most effective networkers, in contrast, focus on listening to understand. People who listen to understand tend to forge stronger relationships because they make a conscious effort to step inside others’ shoes and understand their perspectives. This enables them to build trust and conveys a strong sense that they have others’ best interests at heart.
At a minimum, you can demonstrate that you are listening to understand by remembering the names of the people in your network. When you meet someone new, repeat his or her name at the beginning and end of the conversation. “Hi Anne, nice to meet you” and “It was great to meet you, Anne”, for example. This seemly simple strategy can pack a one-two punch in demonstrating that you are listening and boosting your memory.
4. Give first
In his celebrated book "Give and Take", Adam Grant describes three types of people: givers, takers, and matchers. Givers tend to give more than they receive, whereas takers tend to reap more from others than they give. Matchers fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Grant’s research revealed that givers tend to the most successful leaders, as well as team players. They are able to build the strongest relationships because their focus in outward and their primary concern is helping others. When givers help others, it incites a powerful domino effect, whereby the recipients feel compelled to help them and see them succeed.
Contrary to popular belief, networking can be learned and honed over time. The most effective networkers aren’t often overly extroverted or talkative. Rather, they conceptualize networking as a science. They arrive at events and opportunities prepared with a strategy in place, they focus on listening, and they prioritize giving. In doing so, they set themselves up to capitalize on unexploited personal and professional opportunities.