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1 why networking doesn't work 2 why do people find networking valuable? 3 how do i get in front of the right people? 4 how do i choose a networking event? 5 how do i get the most out of networking meeting? 6 how do i build my network? 7 how do you answer the question what do you? 8 how do you tell a good stiory? 9 how do you get the most out of networking? 10 how do i build trust within my network? 11 how do i follow up? 12 how do i get the best from 121 meetings? 13 how do i get people to refer me? 14 how do i manage my network? 15 how do i nurture my network? 16 how do i build advocates?
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Business Networking Blog

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The Advocacy Model: Making a Contact
In 'Business Networking: The Advocacy Model' I outlined the four steps involved.

The first is making contact or connecting. When you meet someone through networking the key factors that lead to a networking relationship are:
· do I like them?
· do I find them interesting?
· are there points of contact (business or personal)?
· do I want to take this further?

This connection may not happen the first time you meet someone. It may take time attending regular meetings to get to liking someone, finding them interesting or establishing points of contact. One of the great things about interacting with people in a regular group is that you get the time to make connections with people that you might have dismissed on the basis of a single brief meeting.

In order to address the last question you need to learn enough about the person to decide. That means having a real conversation rather than a superficial one where you just exchange business cards and move on.

When the time is right and you both decide that further exploration is worthwhile then you can move to the second stage, follow up.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:49:00, 27 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Connections,Networking for Advocates
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Business Networking: The Advocacy Model
I mentioned the Advocacy Model in a recent post on 'How to build trust in business relationships'. I have also made reference to the various steps in many of the recent posts so thought it worth summarising the model again here.

1. Make contact
Usually a conversation at an event or networking group meeting
2. Follow up
Often a One2One interaction or smaller group to decide whether to move forward and how.
3. Form relationships
The next stage after having done something for the other person in the follow up to help them or their business. Or when they have done that for you.
4. Develop Advocates
Provide ongoing value to the relationship by continuing to make connections and using your expertise to provide information to them. Regular feedback and thanks to the ones doing this for you.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 7:00:00, 24 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Connections,Networking for Advocates,Trust,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up
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What happens next? Part 2
A couple of days ago in my post on 'What happens next?' I shared the loose agenda structure that I use in One2One meetings to build towards a mutually beneficial and positive business relationship. The ultimate purpose being to develop networking advocates.

Neil Denny commented that the model is mostly easy to grasp and implement, except for the last one. "The next steps (typically connections to people & information) that you will undertake before meeting again."

He rightly points out that this calls for action and accountability and demonstrates credibility and commitment. Relationship building in networking this way requires that you give an increasing level of trust at each stage. It is very difficult to commit yourself to this and to making those connections to people & information unless you are wholeheartedly committed.

If you are committed to building trusted relationships where you give first and receive later then try & go a little deeper with your questions on the other person's background & business. Find out about their goals, the real challenges in their business and its development, their other interests and the people and businesses they know. See if you can establish the person or information that would make a real difference and make that connection.

Then you have the next steps in place. The action followed by the next session to get feedback and decide the next stage. With this approach you develop the relationship in the way that Neil described in his comment;

"We start to share commercial intimacy and build relationships that work, as opposed to more passive, and probably easier but less fruitful relationships."

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 7:30:00, 23 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Trust,Networking Relationships,Networking Follow Up
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How much time do you get for conversations whilst networking?
A couple of days ago I blogged about a question that is often asked, 'How many people will be at the event?'. There were some great insights shared in the comments.

The underlying theme was that context, philosophy and actions were far more important than just the number of attendees. This brings us on to another issue. You need to have meaningful conversations to really connect with someone before going on to follow up and build a relationship.

So when you are thinking about attending an event or joining a group it might be important to ask a different question.

'How much time is dedicated to genuine 2 way conversation and is the meeting facilitated in any way to assist with those conversations?'

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 7:00:00, 22 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Relationships,Conversations
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What happens next?
At an event last week someone asked if he could have a private mentoring session. He said he was making good connections at networking events and was having a number of One2One meetings, but that was usually as far as it went. He said "I think my One2Ones are a bit woolly".

Meetings with no agenda or agreed outcome can often be woolly! That does not mean you have to always work to a rigid agenda or be too attached to a specific outcome. It is, however, worth taking a minute or so to agree some ground rules and set the right expectations for both parties.

The purpose of a first One2One in a networking context is often to decide whether you will both invest some time in building a relationship. If that is the case then share that with the other person. If you are taking the lead in the meeting you could open with a reminder of how you connected originally and why you thought there may be synergy between you. Then add the time the meeting will take together with what you would like to cover:
* What you would like to find out about the other person and their business.
* What they would like to find out about you and your business.
* Agreement of any continuing fit between your respective businesses.
* The next steps (typically connections to people & information) that you will undertake before meeting again.
* The date of the next meeting or catch up.



As I develop networking advocates with further interactions I always keep this loose agenda structure in mind.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast


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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 21 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,One2One,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Networking Follow Up
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How many people will be there at your networking event?
People often ask me "How many people will be at the event?". I usually ask them what they consider to be a good number. That can prove to be a difficult question to answer. Many people will start with a fairly high number.

The question came up in a conversation yesterday so I asked the person for an example of an event with a good number. He mentioned an open Chamber of Commerce event with 150 people there. I asked him how many people he had really good conversations with during that evening and he said 2 or 3.

Then he said "I guess what I really mean is that I consider a great event to be where I can have good quality conversations with up to 6 people. More than that & I can't do the follow up".

My own experience is that the knowledge sharing and relationship building takes place much faster in a smaller group. I know from our own NRG groups that the format works very well for between 8 & 40 people. At the upper level the dynamics change and then it's probably time to open another group.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 20 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works
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Are you an expert?
At a seminar this week before the NRG-networks Lunch in the City of London the speaker, Sue Richardson, was presenting 'Be seen as the expert, publish a book'.

She opened by asking if everyone considered themselves to be an expert. The dictionary definition of an expert is 'a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field'.

The learning that came out of the session for many people was that we actually know far more than we think we do. We have a tendency to assume that everyone else knows what we do. This can mean that we undervalue our knowledge and insights. These have great value to our respective networks. As we share them in conversations and by presenting we build our reputation as experts.

The help we give to those others motivates them to help and advocate us. So it is vital to communicate how they can do that whilst continuing to give generously.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 17 Apr 09
Tags: How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Reputation
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Do you do much cold calling?
In a previous post, 'In a world of thousands of suppliers Word of Mouth is essential' I mentioned a recent NRG-networks seminar from author Grant Leboff on how sales & marketing have changed.

One of the things that Grant discussed was the value placed on a cold call by the recipient. Before the Internet a cold call could be a very useful way of gaining information on a subject as part of a purchasing process. A relationship would often be built in this way. A quick straw poll indicated that none of the seminar audience saw that value any more and did not take cold calls.

I mentioned this to a couple of people today. One said that networking was his best route to market, but he still had some success with cold calling. He has a very clear idea of his target market, his proposition and the value he adds. He demonstrates his expertise and value with great questions and the connections he makes. The kind of actions that show a genuine desire to help and not just the let me help you buy my stuff kind!

Great lessons for all kinds of business development activity.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 16 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Cold Calling,Business Development
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A great way to help the people you meet business networking
Whether you are at a structured or unstructured event you will often meet someone who presents their business and leaves you with no idea what they are talking about.

I recall meeting someone regularly and getting to know him quite well. Over time I got to like and trust him & would definitely have referred him if I knew what he did. At one event we were chatting over a coffee and someone else joined us. Neither of us knew the other and eventually she turned to my friend and said "so what do you do?".

"This will be interesting" I said.

He explained what he did very vaguely to start with and then in ever more complicated fashion! That's not unusual. To her credit our new acquaintance said.

"It's probably me, but I don't really understand what you mean".
He then tried to explain again, but what came out was even more complex. He noticed her puzzled expression and said

"That's meaningless to you isn't it?"

Her face said it all, and he said, "Have you ever experienced situations at work where people need the equivalent of their heads knocking together?"

"Yes" she said.

"Well, I help teams resolve those situations."

Crystal clear all around!

So the next time someone you like isn't explaining themselves very well could you ask some questions to help give them some clarity?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast


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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 21:35:00, 15 Apr 09
Tags: Like,How Networking Works,Know,Trust
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Are you prepared to go out of your way for others?
At an NRG-networks lunch meeting yesterday someone asked me how you get others to advocate you.

Someone else shared his view and said "When I meet someone I try and find out as much as I can about them and their business. That allows me to connect them to the contacts and information they need. Recently I met someone from a fantastic conference venue. They were already doing some business with a top four accounting firm and I was able to put her in touch with someone very senior in the organisation to help cement the relationship and gain further opportunities. She subsequently gave me a great referral to a partner in another accountancy firm."

A great example of how you develop networking advocates. A networking advocate goes out of their way to recommend your goods and services without being asked or expecting anything in return. Take time to develop the relationships with key members of your network. Go out of your way to connect them to key members of your network and introduce them to people who might benefit from their services. Become an advocate for them. And, guess what? What goes round comes round. People will eventually become advocates for you – and this is where the networking dividend really pays out!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast


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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 15 Apr 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,NRG,Referrals
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