I have a couple of saved searches in Google & Twitter on the subject of business networking. Many of the daily results are for training sessions or webinars on how to get more from your networking. The vast majority of these are focused on crafting the perfect elevator pitch, getting more leads, selling more or becoming a social media expert. It is all about push and completely misses how successful networking really works.
I was chatting about this and other stuff recently with Bernie Mitchell of TCS Digital World. I met Bernie a few years ago through networking and he shared his frustrations about the way many people are encouraged to go around passing out business cards like confetti and delivering pitches rather than engaging in conversations. Precisely the wrong approach to successful networking.
I asked Bernie about his approach and he said it is all about pull rather than push:
"It is about creating attraction without letting off fireworks! Good networks build community, encourage authenticity and facilitate connectedness.
Building community through fostering the right spirit and allowing people to express themselves in a peer to peer environment.
Encouraging authenticity through communicating honestly and without front or putting on an act.
Facilitating connectedness by providing the structure for people to really make the effort to get connected."
He also said the people he sees that really get results often appear really quiet for 6 months. The thing that they have done is taken the time to watch, listen and learn first. They have known how to fit in, build relationships, help others first and become attractive.
Paraphrasing Stephen Covey from his 7 habits they have sought to understand others first before attempting to be understood!