Networking is an interesting and varied topic, with social networking and face to face networking often separating people into groups. A bit like Darwin’s evolution theory, we networkers are usually missing a link, or two!
No, not like a link between species, just the link between on line and off line networking. It’s Social networking versus Face to face business networking, which is best and which one delivers the most benefits? And just like Darwin’s theory there are several species of networkers, who are separated into types, or tribes.
But which tribe do you belong to, and which tribe is the best to be in?
I speak to lots of people about networking and how and where the best places are. But only a few ever use the full range of networking opportunities available to them.
This is normal, as people often find their place, a place they are comfortable and stay with that. And I’m not throwing stones here as I am as much to blame as anyone.
When the truth is, all forms of networking work for all sorts of people. The technique is to adapt the networking type to suite your personality, availability and objectives.
The two main network tribes are: Remote, and Interpersonal. So let’s look at them individually.
These people usually get stuck at a keyboard and send out messages and make lots and lots of on line contacts. Often they never connect with these people but they are there just in case. Examples of these on line Remotes can be found on LinkedIn and Facebook.
There are people on those sites with thousands of connections who interact with less than 3% and some who on LinkedIn interact with less than 1%. For example I am connected to an American on LinkedIn who has in excess of 39,000 connections.
39,000 connections that’s a heck of a lot of people! How many of those contacts do you think he knows, even just a little? Facebook is the same so many people get hooked up on the numbers game. Social media is a fantastic way of utilising your time when you need help, advice, guidance and real world connections. The trap several fall in to is thinking they can some how hide behind a keyboard and computer screen. Or they kid themselves they can do everything from their desk.
This tribe believes everything is done eyeball to eyeball. You see them at every networking event, usually with a hand full of business cards moving seamlessly from one conversation to another. Back in their office you will often find a very large card box containing over a thousand cards.
Unfortunately the Interpersonal networker will collect business cards, but does nothing with them. Some add them to their Outlook database and see that as a result, job done, others collect them and then file them somewhere safe!
Tips for both Tribes.
When you go face to face networking (which you should, as your message sticks a lot quicker face to face), follow up with a quick non sales email.
“Hi (insert name here),
Great to meet you at (insert event here)
If I can ever help you in your networking please call me.
Yours (insert your name here).
This doesn’t necessarily have to be sent as a conventional email, why not connect on LinkedIn or Facebook and send it through their email systems, or send an even shorter sweeter version through Twitter?
If you do, you’ll have done far more than most of the other networkers do – meaning you are more likely to be remembered!
If you are a remote networker then step out of your comfort zone – you will see plenty of invitations to events on social networking sites, book a couple in the diary. In fact go a step further and send some messages to other attendees telling them you are looking forward to meeting them!
Both networking types will benefit from both types of networking. So enjoy your networking.
To help you I have a ten tips on networking which will be sent to you free of charge all you need to is send an email to this address firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send one by return mail.
Paul M Johnstone is a Speaker, Trainer and Paradigm Shaker, and been involved professionally in face to face networking for over 20 years. Now specializing in helping people get their message across by speaking to groups. Paul has developed a ground breaking speaking system called On the Money©, sharing with people how they can deliver killer presentations every time. You can find him at www.paradigmshakers.co.uk at his Networking blog Networking in A Nutshell and his Speaking blog at On The Money
Of course you can also follow him on Twitter