Networking with “Everybody Training”

June 4, 2015 ·

Networking has become one of those things that nearly everyone has to do. Today’s business climate is based on connecting and sharing. Some people enjoy the interaction, and some do not, but most understand how important it is to connect to others in your field. However, the connections that we are making tend to be on a cursory level, keeping our interactions with others from going deeper.

How can we take our networking to a new level? Right now, we go into an event and shake as many hands and collect as many cards as possible. But, there is a better way to approach our networking opportunities.

As Susan Jeffers explained in her book Dare to Connect, we approach other people based on the idea of “What’s in it for me?” We think about meeting people who can further enhance our business and our careers. We think of it as a “me” opportunity. “What can I get out of it?” Therefore, any connections we make are tenuous at best.

Susan recommended that we change our thinking about meeting new people by re-educating ourselves with “Everybody Training.” In this exercise, we teach ourselves to not just think about our own needs (which excludes others) but to also think about the needs of those we are trying to connect with (which is inclusive). We need to train ourselves to think about how we can help the people we are networking with. We need to think about what we have to offer them, not just what we can get out of our interaction. Our thinking changes from “What can I get out of this?” to “What am I going to give?”

When we think in this way, networking becomes about building sincere and lasting business connections, not just a collection of business cards. And, in many ways, it makes approaching networking easier. If we aren’t so worked up with goals about how many connections we make or meeting the “right” people, networking becomes a more enjoyable enterprise. As Susan wrote:

Connection is made easier when we approach other people with the primary purpose of meeting the needs of other people.

Next time you go to a networking event, look at not only what you would like to get out of it, but also think about what you can offer to the people you meet. 

Tags: Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Leadership Development

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