Startup Savvy: The Network Part 3
So in this last addition to the networking blog series, we want to get straight into our tips for making networking a win-win, mutualistic relationship—instead of a parasitic, freeloading type of relationship. If you need help being brought up to speed with what we’re talking about, please go and read parts 1 and 2. We’re passionate about the topic of networking and for you guys trying to succeed in the startup and small business environment of Utah, networking is going to be a huge part of your business. So whether you’re here looking for small business web design, marketing, or advice, we feel like this blog is going to be a huge help in learning how to network in a meaningful way.
Our first two pointers had to do with making sure we knew what we could offer those with whom we start to build relationships and how to make sure our focus is outward on others (instead of inward on ourselves). Here are a few more tips to get you started on your relationship-based networking path.
#3 Personal Conversations Are Fair Game
It can be really easy to become our “business selves” when we are placed in networking situations—our personal lives can easily be placed on the back burner, and we begin to think about (and only about) our business. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in building real, meaningful, and lasting relationships through our networking, personal connections can be far more helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask others about their personal lives, families, passions, and hobbies. Connecting on a personal level often leads to quicker and deeper relationships. “Strictly business” conversations may sometimes come across as having a transactional motive instead of a relational one.
#4 Lasting May Be the Most Important Part
In our short definition of networking (the art and skill of developing meaningful, real, and lasting relationships), we think the lasting part may be the most important. Having a really really good conversation at one event means that you have a really really good one-day-old relationship. Without follow up it will remain that way, and it begins to lose the first two parts of the networking definition: meaningfulness and being real. Don’t be afraid to set up a “second date” on the “first date”—or at least make sure you swap contact information and are sincerely intending to connect again in the near future. The more interaction you have with somebody, the more lasting and closer the relationship becomes. So that conversation at the event was important, but more important are the next time and the next time that you are able to connect with your new friends.
You guys are well on your way to great networking—remember that there is much you can offer the other person, remember to focus on them, remember to connect on a personal level, and remember to make the relationship lasting. So get out there and start networking!