5 Steps to More Effective Networking

Could You Improve Your Networking Skills?

In this time of difficult market conditions more than ever businesses are turning to networking as a source of business development.  Armed with business cards, company information and some well-scripted patter, individuals set off to networking events, conferences and all manner of gatherings with high hopes and ready to ply their wares, only to become disillusioned when reality doesn’t turn out to be the immediate upturn in sales they had expected.

Before planning your next foray consider a different approach.


1. What you can do for others?

Start by mentally preparing yourself to look hard for ways of helping the people you meet – to many this may sound wrong-headed, “surely my primary objective is to find new business, not help other people?” Think again:  In order that others might help you, help them first – understand what issues they are currently struggling with, listen carefully and by using your own experience and knowledge or by providing contacts, help them to achieve their objectives. In this way, you will start to build a relationship, which in the fullness of time, you will be able to draw upon, but at this stage it’s not what you can do for me, it’s what I can do for you.


2. Be Genuine

By networking you are embarking on relationships, not one-off interactions. Be yourself – people will know if you portray yourself as someone other than who you really are, not only is this difficult to maintain, it will cause others to shy away from you. Be open and honest. Don’t be afraid to show yourself as vulnerable – this can actually help to build sustainable relationships, having some level of dependence builds trust, which is essential for any productive relationship.

Being genuine includes being genuinely interested in others and actively looking for ways to help them.


3. Be distinctive

You want to be remembered, so communicate clearly and as an individual. Your message/offering should be simple to understand, specific and memorable – consider what makes you different and the pressures or needs your offering can ease. Think not “I sell world-class software”, but rather think about what are the problems you are solving for your prospective clients and put this into language, which paints a picture of how much better life could be for them. Listen first and tailor your message to the recipient.


4. Timing

Don’t start networking when you need it to start working for you, start before you need it. Networking is not a quick fix to a short-term gap in sales, it is a long term habit, which should become daily habit. As per point 1, you must first pay forward and plant seeds that will come up in time, but don’t expect instant results.


5. Network everywhere

Networking should not be confined to specific networking events; make it part of your normal everyday life – on the train, waiting for your next appointment, at the school gates – wherever you find yourself. By being genuinely interested in other people and engaging with them at every opportunity you will become increasingly relaxed in your interactions and your network will naturally expand, providing a whole problem-solving web.


By adopting this mindset not only are you likely to find networking more effective, you will also find it considerably less stressful.

By Fran McArthur – Your Ideal Business Partner



Business Coaching

What Makes a NED – Part 4

Breadth of experience

Successful NEDs have a breadth of experience that allows them to advise on a range of commercial issues. A well rounded career facilitates intelligent and strategic advice in the boardroom, irrespective of whether a NED has specific experience in the area under consideration. A robust commercial and political awareness alongside skill and perspective is necessary in order to give dispassionate and independent advice.

Among the diverse experiences that serve NEDs well is having ridden out challenging situations .

“They have a broad/deep reservoir of knowledge and skills accrued during a wide business career. We like directors who have had experience of things going wrong. When you’ve gone through difficult times, you have profound learnings through those experiences.”

Steven Marshall, Chairman, Balfour Beatty and Wincanton

By Bob Evans – Your Ideal Business Partner

Research for this article came from the Korn/Ferry Institute

About The Korn/Ferry Institute

The Korn/Ferry Institute generates forward-thinking research and viewpoints that illuminate how talent advances business strategy. Since its founding in 2008, the institute has published scores of articles, studies and books that explore global best practices in organisational leadership and human capital