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Jul
13 2011

3 Business Networking Tips From the Guru – Michael Hughes

Syndicated from: Kelly McCormick

Okay we all know that networking is a powerful business building tool.  Many people, including myself, get a lot of our new business via referrals. So why is it that so many “professionals” do such a crappy job of connecting with others?  From what I have observed, most people don’t really know what to say or do to make powerful and meaningful connections. To break through any obstacles involved with networking, I interviewed Michael Hughes, the guru of networking.  Here are his valuable opinions, pointers, and tips; all of which are in total alignment with my process on how to ethically OutSell Yourself. Kelly:  What is the biggest mistake people make when networking? Michael: The biggest (and most common) mistake professionals make when networking is focusing too much on a business agenda. Networking’s true purpose and power lies in its ability to act as a relationship ignition point, not as a sales or prospecting activity. A reality of life is that people buy people first, ideas next, and things last. It always goes in that order. In addition, a purchase is most often a by-product of a relationship because we tend to buy from people we know, like, and trust. Change your mindset and conversation to relationship-building, especially in the early stages of a networking interaction. Kelly:  Why does face to face networking grow your business faster? Michael: Today’s complex and competitive business environment offers more choices than ever before, which often can confuse and complicate the decision-making process. People now will sometimes even delay a purchase, as they don’t see a tangible reason to move forward.  Meeting and connecting with others face-to-face is now a difference-maker, allowing others to experience your professionalism, integrity and “look you in the eye”. The dynamics of two people coming together making eye contact and shaking hands, is more memorable. It increases likelihood of someone taking action faster because they feel they know you. Kelly: What is the best way to start a face-to-face conversation? Michael: Research has shown that the highest stressor in networking is the point of initial contact, as two people come together. This is true for almost everyone, whether young or old, male or female. There are a number of factors that contribute to [the stressor of making initial contact], including uncertainty and self-esteem. Leverage this reality with a two-part plan: minimize your own stress by developing an initial-contact strategy (smile, eye contact, offer your hand, introduce yourself) and simultaneously managing the conversation over this interpersonal speed bump. You can do this by taking the role of host/hostess (how would you receive guests if you were hosting the event?), immediately lessening the other person’s anxiety. You can reach Michael Hughes and get more tips at www.networkingforresults.com If you found this information useful, I can help you to grow your business too through my coaching, consulting or speaking services. Please feel free to contact me directly. Regards, Kelly

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