How to be a failure at networking

There are two terms floating around these days that I’ve gone on record as thinking they’re not useful. One is “social media,” which is intended to describe online communities, but is actually the technology that allows us to do that. As you may know, I prefer intuitive terms, which is why I am on a one-man crusade, when speaking of the business application, to replace social media with online customer communities.

The other term is “social networking.” There are two problems with this term: 1) It’s redundant; and 2) It is typically used as an alternative to online networking. Humans are a gregarious species and millennia before we could go online we were networking.

Sadly, as true as the last sentence is, too many humans still don’t get it when it comes to how to behave in face-to-face networking situations. I wonder if online networking has harmed our in-person manners. Here are a couple of the most egregious mistakes people make:

1. Not understanding that networking is not ALL about you. As my friend and galactic guru on networking, Ivan Misner, has taught the world, “Givers gain.” I also like this passage from Ecclesiastes: “Cast your bread upon the water and in time it will come back to you.” Put someone else first and prepare to be swamped by the goodwill - and business - that will follow.

2. How you behave around people who can refer you to prospects is directly connected to how motivated they will be to refer you. If you’re habitually late or are intermittently reliable, that’s how to guarantee no referrals. As Confucius said over 2,000 years ago about how to live a successful life, “Be in reality what you appear to be.”

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I visited with Ivan Misner, founder of Business Network International (BNI), and we talked about the Top 10 things to do if you want to make sure you are a failure at networking. We had a lot of fun with this list, and I think you’ll enjoy the lessons and the energy. Take a few minutes to listen, and be sure to leave your own addition to Ivan’s list.

One Response to “How to be a failure at networking”

  1. 1
    Marvin "Coach" Powell Says:

    I loved this and all of your shows Jim. Thanks for all that you do to help small business leaders stay motivated and focused. Dr. Misner has endorsed my new book which is coming soon.

    -Coach Powell
    “Your success is our focus”

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