[02.24.10]
85 great comments!

The 20 Habits Of Highly Effective Networkers – Part 1

This post is about using effective networking habits. Are you using these?

effective networking habits

Sometimes when I write on a big topic. Like career networking. It makes sense to split the idea up into two posts. Easier on you to understand effective networking habits.

This topic has become so critical for everyone, hasn’t it?.  Whether you are looking for work, new consulting opportunities or ways to grow your small business, career networking is absolutely essential.

But how do you do it?  What are the best career networkers doing and how are they doing it?

What are their effective networking habits? 

I gave a presentation on this subject yesterday at a networking forum in Los Angeles sponsored by McDermott & Bull, a progressive recruiting firm here in Southern California.  Their Executive Network supports hundreds of people through their job search transition process.

Here I’ve separated the 20 effective networking habits into two sections:

Things To Be (Part 1) and Things To Do (Part 2)

So, for today, here are the 10 Things To Be as part of your effective networking habits:

  • Be Memorable

Grabbing the positive attention of people at networking events is critical.  And the way you do that is to have a great story.  A great elevator pitch that includes something compelling.  It will be different for all of us.  Some are personal stories of triumph.  Others are tales of work successes.  But you need a story to engage people.  Period.

  • Be Patient

You will meet all sorts while networking. Many of whom will not do it right.  They will make mistakes.  The “new”, the “impatient” and the “needy” will find their way to you.  And your reaction to them is critical.  Instead of looking for an out, look for the opportunity to educate.  You will be thanked and remembered for that . . .

  • Be Consistent

Don’t crawl under a rock and don’t expect that showing up at a quarterly event will properly freshen your career networking relationships.  You need to pick a few key organizations or events and go consistently.  This way you become a part of the fabric.  And you start to build friendships that will now extend beyond your visits.  Set a goal for yourself that gets you in one general and one industry or function specific group event per month.

  • Be Relevant

You are relevant if people attending events see you as having value.  To them.  Right now.  How do you do that? First, keep up  friendships and each time you re-connect, ask great questions to make sure you know what is happening in their lives.  This allows you to offer value that is specific to them.  If it is a job search driven group, offer to serve as a volunteer and create subject matter expertise.  Be the resume expert for your group.  Or the job interview prep person.  If you help someone achieve their objectives in life, you are relevant.

  • Be Social Media Savvy

To be effective in today’s world, you really need to be savvy in social media.  It is the easiest and most effective way to keep in touch with your network.  In a personal way.  Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Foursquare to name a few.  If haven’t already done so, get started today.  Really.

  • Be Honest

In order to really do this right, you have to be honest with people.  If you tell everyone what they want to hear and promise the world, the results will be poor.  If someone approaches you the wrong way, I encourage you to tell them.  “Hey, I appreciate what you are trying to do, but . . .”.  You can make great friends with people by helping them see the benefits of selfless networking.  Those who come to an event as only a “taker” will find frustration in this new economy.  Unless someone like you gently straightens them out.

  • Be Influential

How do you build influence?  Well, you can read my post 10 Ways To Become A Person Of Influence.  But, in short, it has to do with creating a sense in your network that you have something unique to offer.  Something you’ve created.  A group, a presentation, a helpful spreadsheet (for example).  You can also do it by being selfless.  Over time, your good acts will create a wave of positive momentum.  And people will come to events looking for you.  That makes networking easy.  And fulfilling.

  • Be Considerate

If you bruise your network, it will be less pliable.  Less interested in supporting you when you need it.  And I think we all know that this new economy has been a teachable moment for us all.  Don’t ask for more than you deserve.  Don’t disregard a networking request if you can help it.  And don’t over-use a networking contact.

  • Be Thankful

Say thank you.  And display your thanks in more ways than one.  Know the needs and wants of your network.  So that you can give targeted gratitude.  Instead of something coming back to bite you, this effort will come back to kiss you.  Gently on the cheek.

And a bonus…

  • Be Present

In order to do this really well, there will be sacrifices.  Less time at home with family. No more American Idol.  Less Sunday football.  OK with that?  Being present means that you are there.  At the events.  And are there mentally as well.  Focused uniquely on whoever is standing in front of you.  It means having the ability to move around and “be present” with as many people as possible.

So there you have it.  All things you can practice.  Starting today.  And I think you will start to see results pretty quick.

Be these things (effective networking habits) and I will be proud to call you a career networking friend.

What else do you think matters in career networking?

What have I missed?

Like this post? Be sure to come back for The 20 Habits Of Highly Effective Networkers – Part 2.  Or better yet, sign up for the RSS feed or e-mail updates.  That way you won’t miss a thing!

Thanks Maryland GovPics for the photo via Flickr.


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: | | | | | | | |
Categories: Career Networking
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  • Tom

    Good stuff – would throw out for consideration

    – Be Compelling – You have to say something that sticks, makes people want to engage.

  • Tim

    Hey Tom – thanks for contributing. I like that one. Yes, you will stand out of you are compelling.

  • Tim

    Hey Tom – thanks for contributing. I like that one. Yes, you will stand out of you are compelling.

  • Rob

    Great list Tim. Thoughtful and relevant. I printed it out to remind myself to keep my focus on each item. I’m going to try to focus on one item a day until the list becomes second nature. My biggest challenge… patience.

  • Thomas Zhu

    I would add “Be Confident – After all you know who you are and what you are capable of. It is not exaggerating to say that networking will get you in the door but confidence will land you the job.”

  • Thomas Zhu

    I would add “Be Confident – After all you know who you are and what you are capable of. It is not exaggerating to say that networking will get you in the door but confidence will land you the job.”

  • Tim

    Great addition, Tom Z. I love that one! Great meeting you at the event in LA yesterday . . .

  • Tim

    Great addition, Tom Z. I love that one! Great meeting you at the event in LA yesterday . . .

  • Tim

    Hi Rob – glad you liked it. Yes, I think you need to make these into your own habits. Practice of one or two each time you head out to a networking event is a great way to do that. Then you can see how people react to you and how you feel as a result.

  • Tim

    Hi Rob – glad you liked it. Yes, I think you need to make these into your own habits. Practice of one or two each time you head out to a networking event is a great way to do that. Then you can see how people react to you and how you feel as a result.

  • Tom

    Good stuff – would throw out for consideration

    – Be Compelling – You have to say something that sticks, makes people want to engage.

  • Rob

    Great list Tim. Thoughtful and relevant. I printed it out to remind myself to keep my focus on each item. I’m going to try to focus on one item a day until the list becomes second nature. My biggest challenge… patience.

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  • Linda K Erwin

    Thank you. It is good to be reminded of things we should know. Networking is difficult for me, but I like people. Sometimes it is good to be reminded that concerntation on others is a good way to not concentrate on how uncomfortable you are. Sometimes just listening to others is helpful to them. We all need to remember to trat others the way we would like to be treatedf.

  • Linda K Erwin

    Thank you. It is good to be reminded of things we should know. Networking is difficult for me, but I like people. Sometimes it is good to be reminded that concerntation on others is a good way to not concentrate on how uncomfortable you are. Sometimes just listening to others is helpful to them. We all need to remember to trat others the way we would like to be treatedf.

  • Tim

    Hi Ike – Being someone who likes people puts you in a great spot to become a successful networker. If you don’t want to be at an event, people will notice. And, the golden rules apply.

  • Tim

    Hi Ike – Being someone who likes people puts you in a great spot to become a successful networker. If you don’t want to be at an event, people will notice. And, the golden rules apply.

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  • Tim,

    Both these posts were excellent. I would like to add one–“Be Real.” or Be Yourself. I think sometimes we get too caught up in what we think we should be or what we think everyone else thinks we should be. If you want to be different, be genuine. It’s worked for me. People are smart if they get a sense that you are authentic and cut through the crap, they remember you.

    Great post!(s) I’m so sorry we didn’t get you for the entire webshow last night. Maybe another time.

    Jessica

    @blogging4jobs

  • Tim,

    Both these posts were excellent. I would like to add one–“Be Real.” or Be Yourself. I think sometimes we get too caught up in what we think we should be or what we think everyone else thinks we should be. If you want to be different, be genuine. It’s worked for me. People are smart if they get a sense that you are authentic and cut through the crap, they remember you.

    Great post!(s) I’m so sorry we didn’t get you for the entire webshow last night. Maybe another time.

    Jessica

    @blogging4jobs

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  • Tim

    Hey Jessica – Great point and, you are right, even when we try to be true we may catch ourselves being someone else. Or someone else may catch us. And I think that can be situational. Appreciate your feedback and congrats on your great site blogging4jobs.com and your great Twitter chat for job seekers #jobhuntchat

    You are doing great things!

  • Tim

    Hey Jessica – Great point and, you are right, even when we try to be true we may catch ourselves being someone else. Or someone else may catch us. And I think that can be situational. Appreciate your feedback and congrats on your great site blogging4jobs.com and your great Twitter chat for job seekers #jobhuntchat

    You are doing great things!

  • Lana

    This is great. I know I’m coming to it late but I have two things to add. 1) It’s not all about you. Keeping that in mind will ease some of the stress of networking. 2) I’m going to use DDI’s 4 things necessary for effective communication this week at a short presentation on networking. Maybe someone will find them useful. For effective communication to occur one needs to be:
    1) Heard and Understood
    2) Valued & Respected
    3) Involved in the interaction
    4) Trusted and to Trust
    Lana Lvilmain@aol.com

  • Lana

    This is great. I know I’m coming to it late but I have two things to add. 1) It’s not all about you. Keeping that in mind will ease some of the stress of networking. 2) I’m going to use DDI’s 4 things necessary for effective communication this week at a short presentation on networking. Maybe someone will find them useful. For effective communication to occur one needs to be:
    1) Heard and Understood
    2) Valued & Respected
    3) Involved in the interaction
    4) Trusted and to Trust
    Lana Lvilmain@aol.com

  • Thank you Lana – Late is OK! That’s why I keep the comments open . . . I like your advice – short, concise and easy to remember!

  • Thank you Lana – Late is OK! That’s why I keep the comments open . . . I like your advice – short, concise and easy to remember!

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