Networking’s Value Proposition

A business reporter sought me out recently for some comments on Networking’s Value Proposition for small businesses. Here’s a summary of our conversation.

*  Networking is all about sharing information. In 1982, John Naisbitt defined it in ‘MegaTrends’ as the ‘exchange of ideas, information and resources‘. That’s where it all starts. Nothing new, trendy, high tech or sexy.

*  That information exchange can lead to identifying new contacts. Those contacts can grow into viable relationships over time. Those relationships can lead to referrals, recommendations and new business. It can also stop at the information exchange level.

*  Networking is also about helping other people or asking for help. The two are separate concepts – meeting people who can help you with your networking information goals to learn something to help you work faster, cheaper, smarter or cheaper. Or, meeting people who you can help accomplish their goals. It’s an ‘or’, not an ‘and’.

Power Networkers, members of the All-Star team, network with:

Strategic plan, focus and flexibility.

Judgment to choose events wisely.

Commitment to arrive early and stay late.

Logical placement of their name tags.

Ability to work the room strategically.

Willingness not to give their cards to anyone and wait for people to ask for them.

Finesse to talk less and listen more, tell less and ask more.

Engaging elevator speech that cause others to ask for more details.

Plan for timely follow up.

So, what’s the Networking Value Proposition for your business? Do you have any questions or comments? Let me know and we’ll keep this interesting dialogue going.

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