Posts Tagged 'listening'

10 ways to add value to your network

One of the most valuable lessons I teach when it comes to networking is the idea of “staying visible to your network“. Why? Because if you’re not top of mind with them, when an opportunity comes up to refer you, that referral may go to the person who is.

But it’s not enough to just be visible. I mean, you could be doing bad stuff and still be visible, right? So let’s talk about some ways where you can add value to your network. This will give you the positive JUJU you need to get what you want!!

These are in no particular order and many of them can be as valuable to your spouse, business associates and children as they are to your network.

10. Share an Inspirational quotation- This has become so much easier with status updates on social networks and it’s still very powerful. Pick quotations that are business or personal development related and let ’em fly. Want to take it up a notch? Send them a link to a site full of them or even better, buy them a book.

9. Keep them up to date with events that may be of value- There are soooo many things going on every day that we each miss the stuff that may be important. If you see an event that your colleague is likely to enjoy, make sure to share it with them.

8. Give ’em a pat on the back- This sounds so easy and you know what? IT IS!! And that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen all the time. People LOVE to feel appreciated. The simple act of saying “I appreciate you” goes a long way.

7. Give the opportunity to help someone else- Sometimes someone in your network is going to need help. Perhaps you aren’t the best person to provide it. Maybe you know who is and maybe you don’t. In either scenario, do your best to give your network a chance to help others in your network. This could be as easy as a Facebook post.

6. Share your specific knowledge- You are an expert in what you do. Think about that. Not many people can claim expertise in what you do (at least not people in your network). Share your knowledge. Share it often. You’ll be amazed at how often you hear “Thanks. I was just thinking about that”.

5. Lend them an ear- Sometimes people just need to be heard. We are all so busy that we forget the importance of simply listening to another. Be there when someone in your network needs a friend.

4. Send a link to a relevant article- Like events, important articles are coming at us fast and furious. Make sure your network knows you’re thinking about them by sending them some relevant stuff. You can do this via social media, e-mail, text or you can kick it old school and actually mail them the physical article (I know, I’m crazy).

3. Introduce them to new people they need to know- The better you become at paying attention to the needs of your network, the more likely you are to find people who they need to meet. Don’t hesitate to make introductions that you know will add value to others.

2. Give what you have to give when asked- Many people are waking up to the idea of giving. As such, they are asking their network to give to what they believe in. They may be asking for time, money, connections or shares. Whatever the case, when your network asks for your assistance, give what you can.

1. A referral- Nothing says “I value you being in my network” quite like giving a referral. The more you can give, the more value you create for those around you.

What do you think of this list?
What would you add?

Thanks for taking a look at it.

HMMM, Is it more important to ASK great questions or LISTEN to the answers?

Honestly, I have no idea, but I can tell you that both are far more important than focusing only on what you want to tell people.

I posted these today in response to Dan Mulhern’s note on how important Listening is to leadership. I couldn’t agree more.

The following is two sections that appear back to back in my new book “The Universal Guide to Business Networking“. Take a quick read and see how you can apply these concepts in your daily AND business life.

It Starts With Asking Great Questions

You will be perceived as a better conversationalist once
you master the art of questioning.

Questions keep the conversations moving. Insightful
questions help you learn a lot about the topic. It’s
important to use your questions wisely as they are the
green lights for others to feel good about you.

You can use questions to turn the conversation in any
direction you choose. You want to know about the past,
ask where they went to high school. You want to know
about what kind of friends someone has, ask them about
the last house party they hosted/attended. Want to know
about their work, ask how they spent their Tuesday.

Open-ended questions yield more results. Questions that
can be answered with a yes or no are considered closeended
questions. Open-ended questions draw longer
responses out of people.

I have a rule. I can ask anyone any question I choose. It is
up to them to decide whether or not they want to answer.
When I am about to ask a tough or personal question, I
share this philosophy to soften it a little.

Ever notice what type of people use questions effectively
to succeed in their career? Doctors, lawyers, psychologists,
interviewers, and business coaches have to ask great
questions. Do you think this is a coincidence? Me neither.

Once they ask the right questions, there is another step
they have to take.

Listen Actively

Worried about what you’re going to say next? Don’t be.
Afraid you only have 30 seconds to make a great first
impression? While I am not sure of the exact amount of
time, I know it’s short.

Want to know the best way to impress the person with whom you are speaking? Honor them. And you do that simply by actively listening to
them.

The best active listeners take what you say, put it in their
own words, and confirm mutual understanding. How
often do we say things that seem clear to both parties but
end up as a miscommunication? Both parties lose out.

Gary Evans, a college professor of mine, always said
“Words don’t mean, people mean.” This means that if you
don’t fully understand the intent behind the words I use,
you don’t really understand what I said. We have to dig in
a little bit to what was said.

Active listening creates a higher level of understanding.
Understanding a person’s needs and what you can do for
them is the first thing you should focus on when
networking. It is also the catalyst for people being
interested in you.

One of my top 3 reasons for networking. Does this make your list?

Are you ready to help others?  It all starts with putting their needs first.

This is where networkers that get it, really shine. Although many of us get
into networking with the idea we are going to grow OUR business, the folks
that succeed realize they also have to help others grow theirs. In fact,
many times you have to help others FIRST. If you can put your needs as a
secondary part of any networking conversation, you will find that most
people actually take the time to understand what they are.

Here’s the thing about people…generally their favorite topic is THEMSELVES.
When you are in a networking situation, most people can’t wait to tell you
what they do and how you can help them. Make it easy on them and make it
beneficial for you. Let them. Let them get it all out. Allow them to
speak and share what they feel they need to about their business. Pay
attention, ask questions, LISTEN to the answers.

This is a very important approach for a couple of reasons:

1. They are going to think you are about the best communicator ever because
they and involved in a wonderful conversation. You know why?? Because it’s
about them!

2. This will alleviate the need for them to think about what they are going
to say to you when you’re done talking.

You’ve probably experienced this on both sides of the conversation. You
know the drill, you’re supposed to be listening to someone, but you are too
busy thinking about what you are going to say next. Guess what, others do
it to you too.

Give them the floor and they will be more than happy to return the favor.
If they don’t, they weren’t likely to be a good networking partner for you
anyway.

Be Connected-

Terry Bean