Networking For Success

I don’t feel comfortable in large groups in which I don’t know anyone.”

“I don’t care about getting on the rubber chicken circuit and listening to boring programs.”

“When I’m in a room full of accomplished people, I feel small and unimportant, because I’m unemployed.”

"I feel Like I have nothing to offer anyone"

"Before I do any networking I want have something to offer"

“Networking scares me”

“I am fine when it's one on one but I clam up in large groups.”

These are all irrational thoughts, the very things we try to fight against here on this site. Unfortunately just because you know a fear is irrational doesn’t make it any less valid. But if you are serious about your business or career then you will need to consider your networking plan. Remember something like 80% of jobs are not obtained through a blind internet application being filled out - it's through networking.

A study shows that 15% of the reason a person gets a job, keeps a job, or advances in a job is related to technical skills and job knowledge… 85% has to do with people skills. Due to our current employment rate and downsized companies, working this 85% has never been more important.

Not only is who you know responsible for you getting a job, how you interact with people is how you get to keep your job!  

One day I will talk about the art of small talk-jujitsu but for now let's focus on a few things you can do to make your networking a success.

Don't network when you ‘need’ something

Courtesy of

Your goal in networking shouldn’t be to get a job or to find a client ( at least not on the surface) your job is to get to know people and create an atmosphere around you that invites fun and giving.

If you need something, then it's best to state that at first. Developing a relationship with someone then asking for a favor can lead to distrust down the road. Instead ask them why they are at the event and state why you are there ( you are unemployed/ looking for a new job/ looking to add a client to your business) Coming from a place of not needing anything but someone's friendship can lead to many favors down the road - remember you are playing the long game.

Don't be a shady salesman.

You are networking to create relationships

You are there to build long lasting connections with people who you can help grow their business and they yours. You don’t need to be like a politician and kiss babies; you just need to go into an event and make five new connections.

Remember their names

This should go without saying but I am awful at remembering names and many of you probably are as well. I can remember things like birthdays, your favorite color or what we did five years ago at some carnival but God help me I will not remember your name.  

To solve this problem I started using an old Bill Clinton trick I learned from a book that I can’t remember right now, ironic huh? Everywhere I go I take a notebook and write down people's names and something that they told me about themselves. That will allow me to better remember that person and if I can find anything in common with them.

Take business cards

You should have one pocket set up with your business cards and another for your new connections.

Hand out your business card

This should go without saying but please hand your business cards out. Have some kind of incentive on your card that will lead them to contact you again after the fact. Something like a few consultation or a free appetizer.

Invite out

Remember that notebook with the names written in them? That is your key to inviting your new friends out.  Do they like to golf? Go play a round on you. Do they like to hike/go camping? Take them to a nice camping spot. Like movies? There's a new movie out every week of the year.  Invite them out, pick their brains again and create a situation where you are the catalyst for some extra no strings attached fun.

The art of the business lunch

Are you not ready to invite people out for a night on the town? Try a more formal business lunch. Invite them to a nice spot closer to their job, ( for less excuses as to why they can't show up) This is slightly more formal so you will need to be able to carry a conversation.This would be a good time to brush up on current events.

You are networking to bring people together

Think of yourself as a connector, you are the reason why people are meeting each other. For example, I have movie night every so often at my house, or at the theater. Invite a few people over nothing overly formal just a few laughs and a movie. Be the reason why people are coming together.

Be like a club promoter

Have you ever been to a club and you see some guy walking around talking to just about everyone, not for very long just a handshake and asking them “how's everything?”  Be like that guy. When you are working a room, say hello to everyone who comes within 3 feet of you.  You don’t need a ton of conversation just “hello” “how are you?” “ what brings you here to night? “ “What do you do?” Acting this way takes some of the pressure off by getting out of your head and forcing yourself to meet like minded people.

Create a referral network.

By meeting and connecting people you are creating a referral network. This network is a group of people who can refer one another when one can not do the business. If a need must be met why not have someone you know and trust perform that service vs some stranger? Keep it in the family is what I like to say.

If you want to be successful, it's best if you make an effort to connect or reconnect with people, not because you are trying to get something from them but because you are trying to bring people together so that you all can benefit from the relationship(s). Most of the time you will be sending birthday and Christmas cards through the mail with an occasional invite to a some kind of  meetup. Networking can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be.

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