Are you making every contact count? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Are you making every contact count?

by on
in Career Management,Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Everyone has contacts, but are you working them enough to create a true “network”?

If not, follow these tips from some top networkers:

“Ask, ‘What can I do to help you?’” says Liz Lynch, founder and executive director of the Center for Networking Excellence. Whether you’re catching up with a former coworker or meeting someone new at a “meet-n-greet,” provide additional value to that other person. Even if the individual needs specific help that you can’t offer, the fact that you asked and listened will go a long way.

Spell out your needs specifically. On the flip side, your contacts shouldn’t be left to figure out how best to help you; they’re too busy with their own needs. With a contact you know well, it’s actually more considerate to reach out with a specific request.

Send the right message when you greet a contact. Shaking hands, which is a key part of networking, gives subtle signals to other people who then gauge whether you are someone with whom they would like to network, says Jan Hargrave, a professor at the University of Houston and an expert in nonverbal communication.

Tips for shaking hands: Offer your hand straight up and down with your palm open to the left (shows equal footing), connect web-to-web, then pump three times.

Create a networking plan, advises Lynch. Example: Maintain an active membership in one professional organization; plan to meet five new people each month; and call two existing contacts each week.

Such an individualized plan will allow you to make continual progress rather than moving in fits and starts.

 

Leave a Comment