Monday, May 18, 2009

Networking Workshop

I have led a Networking Workshop before that I designed.
It's a topic I can present on to any group, large or small.

It's pretty staightforward, and let's attendees get a chance to actually practice and learn networking as we go, rather than just hearing about it. That's why I call it a "workshop."
Everyone that comes is asked to bring business cards and a pen.

This information was learned from others along the way with strong influences from Rod Colon (leader of the - which is free to join and highly recommended) and Keith Ferazzi ( author of "Never Eat Alone," another book that is highly recommended by me.

Here's the general outline:
1. I ask people to spend 5 minutes to go meet someone. I will give a warning, then ring a bell when time is up. Then I ask questions:
  • Did you both get a chance to talk?
  • Did you learn much about each other?
  • Is this someone you would want to keep as a friend?
  • How can you remember them? (ask for their business card, turn it over, write the date, where you met and and what you discussed.
A few observations then occur:
  • It's best to listen and talk
  • You can talk about F.O.R.M. (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Money) to get deeper into a relationship
  • In "How to Win Friends and Influence People" ( a gem of a book from 1936) author Dale Carnegie mentions how important it is to listen and lavish praise and interest on someone's interests. This will win you friends.
  • Some people may not be a direct help to your career, but they are still valuable people to know for other reasons. What might they be? (they may connect to someone else, they might be someone that can help someone you know, they might be someone you might have common interests with, but not find you a job)
2. Now everyone is asked to pick someone else and talk again for 5 minutes
  • Did you both get a chance to talk? Does it feel better that way?
  • What if they don't have a business card? (you take one of yours and ask them to write their contact info on it)
  • You need to follow up with people within 48 hours, or you will forget. Remind them what you talked about. Send them a related article or wait a few weeks and send them a link.
  • How deep of a relationship did you establish? Ask for some examples. Was it that deep that you'd remain friends?
  • You can learn so much more about people if you ask them what their passion is. Get deep in the relationship quickly
3. Try it again with another person: 5 minutes
  • What did you find out about the other person? What types of passions?
  • Do you feel that you'll have a deeper relationship? Will you both keep in touch now? Will you remember what to talk to him about the next time?
  • It's good to enter the information in a spreadsheet (or in notes about the person) so you can remember how to follow up. If you put it in a spreadsheet, put a followup date so you remember when to speak again.
4. Try the networking again with another person: 5 minutes
  • Did you find anything out that you might introduce this person to someone else you spoke with this evening? That is a major part of networking: not just finding people to help you, but to help others.
  • Explain the law of reciprocity: the golden rule
  • You need to go to people offering something, not always being needy
  • When you go to a networking event, don't be looking for the next person to talk to. Try to make a few deep connections rather than many shallow ones.
  • What can you do to excuse yourself from a conversation so you can move on to someone else? (ask them if they want some punch? Tell them you want to introduce them to someone else? Other ideas?)
5. Try networking with two to three people this time. I'll give 10 to 15 minutes. You have to try to break away on your own. See if you can do it gracefully.
  • What worked? What didn't
  • Are you meeting people that you're connecting well with?
  • Did you find anyone that might help you? Your network of friends? Stories?
This process is repeated over and over for the lenght of the meeting. The cycle is to learn a bit, then practice a bit: learn, practice, and learn from practice. All of life is made up of learning.

I hope you'll learn from some of these pointers and try these concepts out!

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