Become an Expert at Networking and Building Relationships

Become an Expert at Networking and Building Relationships
Mary Ann KeelingMary Ann Keeling twitter-iconFollow Mary Ann On  twitter: @MaryAnnKeeling


A simple question: do you want to become an expert at networking and building relationships? Of course you do, but you’re probably thinking that’s an impossible goal or one far, far away from you. You’re wrong, but be happy… this is one of those times that’s better to be wrong than right. With some good advice, some helpful ideas and some practice, you’ll be an expert faster than you thought. There are a few key things to keep in minds, such as:

Getting new contacts

You have to differentiate friends and business contacts right away. You’re making new contacts here, not friends, so different rules apply.

The best way to get in contact with someone in the 21st century is via blog. Most bloggers read their comments and reply to comments. If they don’t, then they’re not a person that will want to build an online relationship anyway. Don’t be too pushy and start engaging them for a business opportunity right away, you might chase them away. You’ll have to earn some name recognition and engage a while before you start making a serious business contact.

What about offline meetings? These days those seem to be harder, since we can all hide our facial expressions, emotions and insecurities behind a screen. Real life is different and you’ll have to act accordingly. Seminars and events are the best for this type of connecting. This comes around a bit like dating, and a same rule applies: to get more serious, you’ll need a second date. Approach someone attending the same event as you, begin with some simple icebreakers like asking them why are they there, what they hope to accomplish. If the person doesn’t seem interested, move on and find a more suitable person.

Connectivity of your network

Think about your contacts for a bit. Their number and their line of work, expertize and the circles they’re in. If you have let’s say a round number of ten people, all in your area of business, you’re probably thinking that’s great. In reality, while it’s good it’s far from great. You may have heard about the idea that you’re connected to anyone on earth by no more than six people. That if you give a letter to your friend, who knows a friend, who knows a friend, and so on, that you can deliver that letter to anyone on the planet.

The problem with that is, that if you only know a number of people in the same are of interest and expertize, and they all know each-other, that letter would just circle around them and might even land back in your lap eventually. On the other hand, you might have ten contacts, all of different occupations, different companies, all vastly different from each-other, that seems way much better, right? Sadly, no. In that case, your network gets sparse and you lose connectivity. You become a guest to many networks but can’t really say that you’re at home with any. The answer lies, as you’ve probably guessed it, between the two: maintain a balance between homogeneity and heterogeneity of your contacts.

Keeping long-term relationships while negotiating

Now, you’ve got your contacts and what’s next you ask? Dealing with them, negotiating of course.

While you may run into a negotiation like a roaring lion: putting down your foot and demanding only the best for yourself while showing nothing but strength and power, there’s an alternative to think about. While the first example might get you what you need out of a negotiation, it only gets you results in the short run. You’ll probably lose a client or a connection after such an aggressive approach. But we’re talking about building relationships here, and the goal are those long-term relationships.

You can think of them as ones with a lover: what makes it work? Dedication and hard work of course. You’ll need to tone down your aggressiveness and lower your demands. You’ll have to honor and make the other side happy as well as your side. Sometimes you’ll even have to let them “win” in order to keep the relationship going. The key here is mutual satisfaction, and keeping the relationship going as long as possible.

With these useful tips and some time and experience, you can Become an Expert at Networking and Building Relationships for new business that you can keep for the long run.

Mary Ann Keeling is a business consultant and an experienced social media networker. She likes to spend her free time outdoors, doing water sports with her friends and family.

Image credit: geralt/Pixabay

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