How to Become an Uber-Networker
There is a popular book on network titled Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. It can be described as the bible of tips and ways to become an uber-networker. Uber-networkers are the upper tier of super or extreme networking. If you know the book, its pretty clear that the author Keith Ferrazzi, who tells you how he networks, is in a stratosphere all by himself. Part of it is the obvious financial opportunities he has to throw parties together with significant names and so on, but its pretty clear that the man not only networking when hes eating, but also when hes walking, talking and goodness knows what else.
So what can make you an uber-networker?
Two simple (related) things.
The first is to really get to know and remember interesting points of another persons life. Certainly, birthdays, spouses and kids names are pretty minimum. But what does the person do on their spare time? What about quirks? Do they collect ducks or plastic flamingos? How do they vacation? Museums or Beaches? Do they like to read a good trashy novel when they are on the beach or are they worried about skin cancer? There is a thousand bits of information about a persons makeup and interests. The more you know about them, the better youll understand them.
Now lets not stalk. Going to networking events with a pen and pad of paper, lurking around groups that are talking and jotting down notes would be not only weird, but pretty scary! Think about natural conversations that you have or come into with people. There are constantly little tidbits being dropped about the persons interests during the course of any conversation as they discuss sports, vacations, business, family life and so on. Figuring out how you are going to RETAIN that information is something you need to figure out.
Again, whipping out a pad and paper and scribbling away or taking out your personal recorder and sticking it in their faces would be a conversation damper to say the least.
Here are some ways that might work
Create a valid opportunity to write something down. It may be to promise them information or to contact them. If you have their business card, even better. Jot on the back the information Call Joe tomorrow, but you know can quickly write down that he just celebrated his birthday, rabid Bears fan, is into Hummel figurines, she loves Coach bags and so on.
Youve finished chatting, can you step away and discreetly record some of the information you picked up. An appropriate way is if your cell phone has a recording element to it. So while youre recording those tidbits, it looks like youre just making a call.
Go to the bathroom or go outside for a smoke. Jot down the relevant info and head back.
The bottom line to getting the information and retaining it is tact and discretion. Do what comes naturally. So now that you have all this personal information, what do you do with it? This is the second thing you do to obtain uber-networkhood. Using what you got.
This is where you send the birthday card with a personal note, Hey Suzy, hope your birthday is a great one. Or I remember your birthday was around now, can I buy you lunch to celebrate?
Email Frank about that incredible game last weekend (Franks favorite team)
Write a note to Bob mentioning that you remember he was into Hummel figurines and you happened to see that they were having a show displaying them coming soon. Throw in the clipped article or web link.
Hey Nancy, I remember our great conversation at the last event where you were talking about the problems you had motivating your people and I stumbled across this article/website/vendor, thought of you and Im passing it on.
Morning Beth, I remember you saying you liked (author name) books when you go on vacation and I was just at the Barnes & Noble and there is a new one out. Was wondering if you knew.
And so on. What you are doing is raising the level of the relationship to maybe not friend, but perhaps friendly acquaintance that is aware of what they do in their lives (and isnt it nice to know that people show a genuine interest?) and are making an effort to recognize and support that.
But again, it needs to be natural. For example, you dont need to pretend to be a Hummel figurine collector to just mention that you saw the upcoming event and thought about Bob and his interest. In that case, you paid attention to their interest and passing on some info that supports their hobby. But if you are not a sports fan, and you are trying to come off as one, it will ring false and be pretty obvious. You can still go up and say Hey Frank, didnt you say that you are a Notre Dame fan and arent they doing pretty decent this year? Shows you listened, but arent quite following their team. And trust me; the fan will be more than happy to fill you in.
A quick note about automation. We have a lot of processes available today where you get someones name and send out newsletters periodically about local happenings, general interest items, etc. This isnt bad. It does keep your name and your organization in their minds, however dont mistake it for the strength of the personal touch, the I was thinking of you action. Its something that cant be automated or faked.
So these are the two things you need to do
Understand and collect information about people and their lives.
Act on it. Build a relationship that shows you heard, you remember and that you are interested in them and their lives.
You are creating a deeper and more significant relationship. You are exhibiting a memorable thoughtfulness. And it naturally flows that they will want to support you in your business and your success. Think on it. Act on it. Be honest and helpful in your dealings. And a new uber-networker will be born!
Terry Bass, of CHADONS Resources is a business coach in the ChicagoLand area. He speaks, coaches and facilitates focusing on helping the individual and business succeed. If you can use help for yourself or your organization in identifying, understanding and achieving your goals, then you should contact Terry at 773-769-1992 and begin the conversation. You can also visit http://www.chadons.com to learn more.
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