Best Networking Advice


Would you like to know the best piece of networking advice I have to offer?


You see, my wife and I have been at the helm of The Business League for nearly 6-years and the Business League is now nearly 10-years old.  

So in the 6-years, I’ve been running networking events, I think I’ve seen a thing or two, but before I give you the ‘BEST ADVICE EVER’, let me put it in context.  I started networking over 10-years ago and whilst I didn’t mind it, I was CRAP at it.

You see I was naturally an introvert.

I didn’t want to be the center of attention.

I wasn’t great at interrupting a conversation.  

I would gravitate to people I knew.  

I struggled to leave rubbish conversations.

I would get nervous when I had to stand up and talk about myself in front of 30-people (I used to give orders to 150-soldier… Go figure…

I was the kind of guy (and largely still am) where I’d prefer to have a few strong relationships. I am still friends with 3 kids I started school with and will catch up with them a couple of times a year.  Most of my good friends I’ve known for over 30-years.

These aren’t the actions of a dude who makes any changes friends quickly.  Beware – I hang around a long time.

So this was me 10-years ago. Yes, networking was a great growth driver for our businesses.    But I don’t think I did the best job at it.

I got sucked into some networking organizations, some of them charging $2000 a year not even including the monthly breakfast!!! And I stayed with them too long because I was loyal (a trait honed in from 17-years in the Army).

So this loyalty cost me time and money.

Then there were the social drinks I turned up to, which were pretty clicky, enjoyable, but not great for business.

To be honest I sucked at getting people interested in what I did and quite often was too ‘nice’ and let people talk about themselves for ages waiting for them to ask about what I did….

You guessed it – it was a long wait.

Some of you may relate to some of the above.  And so I immersed myself in the ‘ethos’ of networking and improving.  Yes there was some good advice.

Such as:

Be yourself – actually, this wasn’t one of those good bits of advice…

It’s about relationships, not quantity

Know your USP

Know your elevator pitch

Target your niche

Create Joint Ventures

Ask questions

Don’t hijack conversations

Give value

Don’t have a set agenda

Have a set agenda

Make sure you follow up

Don’t be the smartest person in the room

Be memorable

Get to know the organizers

Hand out business cards

Don’t hand out business cards

And the list goes on…

Many of those didn’t really help.  I remember Bec (my wife) rehearsing with me different questions I could ask to prepare for the event I was going to.  It was funny actually – Bec is an amazing networker, but hated it. I was a shitty networker but didn’t mind it.

So what is the one piece of advice that changed all this for me.

It actually wasn’t even advice, it was something I had to work out for myself.

So what is the one piece of advice that changed all this for me.

It actually wasn’t even advice, it was something I had to work out for myself.

So here it is…..

It fits into the following – I call it the SOS of Networking

SOS = Self, Others, Strategy

So firstly, I needed to work out how to be myself but in a more outgoing version.  How could I amp up the ‘true’ me to engage more people, initiate more conversations and connect with more people.  Self.

Next, I am awesome at connecting people. Enjoy doing this and do it. Whether it comes round or not. Do it. Quite often it hasn’t come round as big as it is been put out there.  Take for example a Business League Member who was introduced to one of our connections, which turned into a $180K agreement. So others are not about connecting to gain. It simply about help others. No agenda. No deep down desire to get it back.  Just help others and focus on what they need.

Strategy. Well, this one is for my right side brain. It’s about knowing the people I want to connect with to bring into my ‘inner circle’ or my partners/power group. It’s about knowing what the return is I want from my efforts.  It’s about bringing strategic planning to a reactive game. This helps me meet the right people. Last year on average, each month, I met two new multi-millionaires a month. Not to do business with, but to get to know them and to learn from. I then introduce them to my community.

So my framework for networking, that works for me is SOS.

It may not work for you. Or fit for you extraverts.

But hey, this was my best networking advice, not yours. So what is yours?

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