I’ve been doing this networking thing for a long time, and I keep hearing about people who are “great” networkers. I am often introduced to these folks, and, I must admit, there are times I am little more than underwhelmed.
So how do you stack up? Are you a great networker? Ask yourself these five simple questions and arrive at the answer yourself.
- Are you truly proactive in your networking connections, or do you tend to be reactive and wait until one of your contacts asks you if you happen to know a (fill in the blank) before making an introduction, i.e. needs-based connecting?
- Do you prequalify the folks with whom you have been introduced before having a phone or in-person conversation? Do you frequently make assumptions that someone might not be “good for you” because they are not “logical” connectors for your type of business or do not seemingly have access to the types of contacts you require?
- Do you make connections based on more “sophisticated” indicators? For example, if you know people who get most of their business introductions from a specific type of referral source, do you introduce them to each other, even if they would have no other way for them to do business or network together?
- Do you make connections on a regular basis, perhaps even establishing a quantitative goal for each week?
- Do you ask the people who make introductions for you if they would like to be kept in the loop or if it would be OK to follow up without keeping them included in the e-mail thread? Do you say thank you?
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