Now that you know the common myths, here are some reinvention strategies and tips that you can use to be more effective moving forward.
Tip #1: Value People.
Everyone you meet has something to offer. Most people tend to engage in what I call “stuck-up networking” – meaning you tend to only talk to those you think are important or worthy of your time. Sowing seeds into the lives of others opens up doors and leads to key referrals. You never know where the next fantastic opportunity will come from.
Tip #2: Know Your Brand.
The real key to strategic networking is being able to listen to the needs of others. From there you strategically respond by sharing relevant information about your brand and your abilities to meet those needs. The finesse comes in presenting your assets without appearing pushy.
Tip #3: Start slowly.
When you first meet someone, the objective is to get to know that person and learn more about that individual’s business or industry. The goal is not to get something. Never start a conversation with someone by saying, “I want to pick your brain.” That, my friends, is ‘taker’ talk. Wise networkers give. Asking for too much too soon is like trying to get married after the first date. Plus, I do not want my brain “picked” – that sounds traumatic. I don’t mind sharing insight, but please, no picking!
Tip #4: Be Ready.
Remember, networking is not a onetime event. You should be ready to connect with people and to find mutual synergies wherever you go.
For additional insight, pick-up your copy of SKIRTS in the Boardroom—it is also available for download on Kindle. Click here to sign-up for my free ME Unlimited® e-Newsletter featuring daily “Motivate ME” affirmations and reinvention advice, and you can follow me on Twitter for quick tips.
It’s your turn now. Share your networking tips and faux-pas with us. I look forward to hearing from you.
Reinvention Strategist™ Marshawn Evans is a former Miss America beauty queen turned Donald Trump Apprentice, turned Georgetown University trained sports & entertainment lawyer who equips the motivated to live without limits. She is Founder of ME Unlimited, a management consulting and performance strategy firm.