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Welcome to this edition of the NetworkMe Podcast. And this week, we are going to discuss how to give when you’ve only started networking. So one of the things when you go out to professional facilitated networks is that givers gain and what does that mean? If you’re being asked to give and you’ve only started networking, I know from experience that you’re not sure what to do, how to give, you’ve only just started, you don’t know an awful lot of people. So how can you be helpful to others? When you don’t know that many people or you don’t feel you have something to give? So in this episode, I wanted to answer that very question. How do you give when you’ve only started networking, so here are some of my thoughts on it.
So networking, by its core on at its core is based on the law of reciprocity, it is giving with intention, it is giving without the expectation of receiving, and it is building up your social capital. So here are a few ideas to get you going. And there’s about 10 of them. So you will build up your arsenal and your toolkit and your awareness. And it’ll be putting things on your radar that you are looking and finding ways to help other people in your networks.
So the first thing that I think is underestimated, and not necessarily considered is consistency. Show up consistently. If you’ve taken the time to join a network to sign up for a membership, when they have the networking events, whether they’re weekly or monthly. And especially when they’re monthly, because they are only once a month, show up consistently. That says an awful lot about who you are as a person, but also who you are as a career professional, or a business owner, it speaks to your reliability. And when people are sporadic or ad hoc, that also speaks to their lack of reliability. Now, don’t get me wrong, everybody has holidays, or the kids might get sick. Life does happen. But your rule of thumb has to be consistent. And by you showing up consistently, it says that you’re invested, that you’re interested, that you’re engaged, that you’re willing to show up. And we’re gonna talk a little bit about diary management and how you make networking a default process in the future. But for now, think about it, how can I ensure that I show up consistently for my networking events.
So networking is predicated on the know, like and trust factor, you’ve got to spend time getting to know your fellow networking groups that you’re a part of. So what I always say is the power of one, do at least one and I say at least one, one to one with somebody else from one of your networks. And if you’re in three networks, make sure you spend time doing a one to one for each of your networks every single week, make it a default aspect of your diary, and of your week. That’s how you start getting to know people. That’s how people start getting to know you. And if you’re not willing to invest that time and getting to know other people, why should they invest time getting to know you? And this is where you’re building up that social capital, you’re letting people get to know you, you’re getting to know others. So you get to know them, by getting to know them, then you get to like them. And by liking them and understanding them. Knowing their why you get to understand that you trust them.
And it’s only when you’re at the point of trust, do you start referring people in to other people you might refer leads, business, people, there’s lots of different things. You could refer into businesses, but you won’t happen unless you have the know like and trust factor. It’s also about adding value to people and their businesses. You as you start to understand over time when you’re doing those one to ones, what matters to them. So it might be that you come across an article about something that had been discussed, and you say, Hey, here’s an email. Here’s an article that I just came across. I know we were discussing this the other day, I think you might be interested in this piece of research or this point of view.
It might also be about referrals. So you may be in a position to give a referral to somebody. But one of the things that I always say is do not give referrals to other businesses until you have done your one to ones and I’ll discuss this in a future episode. But for doing one to ones, it’s your opportunity to get to know the person but if you can’t sit down and put an email together to say why you are introducing them, what the point of connection is and why it matters. If you’re not able to articulate that, then you don’t know the person well enough and you need to go back to doing a one to one to understand how to introduce people to do refer people in but make sure you do those all important one to ones beforehand.
If you’ve done business with somebody, giving them a testimonial is a fantastic way of building up that social, that social capital. Testimonials can be written on email that somebody can use for their website, it might be through LinkedIn, it might be through Google, it might be on a Google review, it could be on Facebook, find out where people value and want their referrals to be, you know, because it’s a good idea to have them streamlined on a particular place that you can point people to on your own website. But giving people a referral, giving people testimonials that they can use in their marketing, that helps validate their business or their service is magic, and will always be appreciated. So think about testimonials, and who can you give a testimonial to.
Follow up is a key aspect of how you can help other people. If you’ve offered to do something, whether it’s organising the one to one, giving referrals, sending on a piece of information, sending on a book recommendation, whatever it is that you offer to do, making an introduction, make sure you have time set aside in your diary to do the follow up. Because in all sales processes, people tend to not be prepared, they rock up to the networking event, and they don’t plan time to do their follow up. We’re going to talk about default diaries, plan your follow up and do what you say you’re going to do. Again, a bit like consistency and point one, it speaks to your reliability, it speaks to your reputation. So think about it in this way. How? What do you want people to think about you? What do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room? Because this is where you’re developing your personal brand? It’s where you’re developing your reputation? What do you want people to be saying about you that you’re reliable, or you’re not reliable? Because if you aren’t consistent, if you aren’t showing up, if you’re not engaged, if you’re not doing the one to one, and you don’t do your follow up… Is that a person that you would recommend into another business? Probably not. Because when you refer people in, it’s your reputation at stake. So make sure that you are the person who does the follow up and do what you say you’re going to do.
Get social, follow each other on social media, that’s a great thing that I hear time and time again, people at networking events or professional, facilitated meetings, and I’ve set up a new Instagram channel, I’ve got a new YouTube channel, can you follow? Can you subscribe? Can you like? Follow people on their social media channels, be it personal or professional and support them, Listen, engage with their content, comment on is like it, share it out to your network. That is huge way of showing that you’re supporting them, you’re engaging, and you’re listening. And you’ll hopefully get that back that they’ll want to do the same thing for you. And you start learning about their business, bit by bit through all of the information that they’re sharing on the different social media profiles. So do follow, do start, like commenting, sharing, and generally looking out for their content and support it. And this will come back and all businesses are looking to grow the profile, because they’re connecting them with a wider audience. So please do support in that way. And again, that comes down to your follow up spend a bit of time finding out the social media profiles of the people that are in your networks.
Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge. So if you have you know, one of the amazing benefits of networking is how you get to learn from other people in your groups. And most networks have what is termed an ed slot, which is maybe five minutes assigned in the network to help people learn something new might be in marketing, it might be in content, it might be something around legal or HR. But if you’ve got knowledge in your business, and you can share something, a piece on a piece of software, or a new book or something like that, that you have found of benefit in business. Don’t be afraid to share this, put your hand up to do the ad slot, the lots of different benefits from doing that. Put your hand up to do the ed slot, you can share this information out and people will gravitate towards that. Because you are there on you’re sharing your knowledge.
My next thing is be a connector. I’m what I call a connector. So that’s somebody in business. You know, everybody in business has problems and pain points that they’re trying to solve to make their business more efficient or productive, to accelerate their success. But you might not be the person to help but you might know somebody who can help when you’ve heard a pain point from somebody else in your network. And if you know somebody who you could introduce, who could help solve that problem or alleviate that pain. Wow, how are you going to be felt or thought about, you are going to be the rock star because you’ve connected and helped them along the way. So always and this comes down to the active listening, they, they always say in in life and how we’re raised with our parents, by our parents that we have two ears and one mouth, and we should listen and talk in accordance to those ratios. But I will always take it a step further, listen with your eyes when you’re networking. And again, online offline, listen with your eyes, because people tell you everything about themselves without realising they’re telling you an awful lot about themselves. Because they’re showing interest. They’re actively listening. They’re trying to understand how they can help you, and how they can connect you, and how they can share knowledge that’s going to help you grow your business.
But the last reason is, be yourself. Be authentic. You show up. Part of what we want to explore in future episodes is how do you show up? How do you understand what being yourself looks like? And feels like? Be yourself, be authentic. And we hear this an awful lot and it’s becoming a little bit ubiquitous. Be your authentic self. But what does that actually mean? But what it means is that you know, your values, your beliefs, what you unequivocally stand for, and you’re able to articulate this. And when you understand that you will connect with people far more easily, and they will connect with you far more easily.
So all of these factors, being yourself sharing your knowledge, being a connector, connecting and getting social, doing your follow up, giving testimonials, passing on referrals, adding value to other people developing your know, like and trust factor, and showing up consistently, they all go towards you building up your social capital, and your social capital is key to your success in networking. If you go into networking with an ask or trying to solve a problem today, you will fail miserably because networking is a long term sum game. The way I say it is, networking is like compound interest on your pension. It only works with time. So you have to factor in the time available that you can invest in the networking. But understand that as a pre, during and post event that you have to plan into your diary. So we’ll talk about that soon. But think about this your social capital, how do you build up your social capital? How do you nurture your social capital? That’s another episode? How do you maintain that social capital? So I will say that you you need to give without an expectation of receiving. And if you invest of yourself, you build relationships consistently over time, you will become known as the stellar networker. And it does take discipline, it takes effort, it takes energy, it takes time. But the rewards are awesome. They’re mega, and they are worth at every day of the week. Because what you will get back from your network, you will get it back in spades. And we’re gonna talk about some of those spades in future episodes as well. Because I’m here to unpack networking. I’m here to demyth it, demystify it. And I want people to love networking, I want to take the awkwardness, the sleaze out of it and teach people the skill of networking.
And believe me, networking is a skill. Nobody knows how to network without learning how to do it. And we all don’t know what we don’t know. So if you would like to go on a journey with me to learn how to network, keep listening in, refer somebody on who might benefit from learning and listening to these podcasts. And if you’re not already signed up to my newsletter, please log on to www.networkingjean.ie and please sign up to my newsletter that is www.networkingjean.ie/newsletter, where I blog and I write on tips, techniques, hacks, reviews on networks, where I talk and extend the conversation of networking. I’m on a mission to change the narrative of how networking is perceived and to get people to understand that it is a game changer. It grows your confidence, it grows your self awareness and that my friend leads you to success.
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