Social Networking is really a lifestyle.
Everyone networks. Networking is really a prime opportunity to build business and personal relationships that can actually benefit you in the long run.
Regardless if you are searching for an insurance broker, an auto mechanic or even a consultant, everyone always asks friends, family, and associates for recommendations.
If you approach networking with your lifestyle, it needs a much more structured, deliberate approach. However, it ultimately comes from the following:
- interacting with people outside your comfort zone
- increasing your circle of influence and contacts
- gathering all the relevant information
- connecting with “decision makers” who you are in contact with
However, not properly networking as described above, your contact network is going to slowly increase – or not going to increase at all. This will begin to limit your potential networking exposure.
In addition, when we are in prosperous economic times, Social Networking is even more important. This is the time when most people are in a much better mood and more comfortable expanding their circle of friends – because people in good times, feel better about themselves and want to share their good times with others.
So, let me ask you…
What steps would you follow to increase your circle of influence and networking – with the goal of increasing your contacts and influence?
Below are some strategies you can start implementing to strengthen and having a prosperous social network of influence.
LISTENING SKILLS ARE CRITICAL
In today’s society, you have to be able to effectively communicate – remembering that communication is a two-way street: Listening and Speaking.
Listening can help you solve your, or other’s problems and concerns – as well as starting and improving relationships. You have to improve your listening skills by paying attention to others without interrupting them as well as without judgment of what they are saying.
Focus on giving the other person your undivided attention while directly facing them with direct eye contact at all times.
You have to always keep an open mind and not exhibit any types of behavior that resembling your judging people. You can think about what the person said later on – but make sure you don’t interrupt them. Such interruptions can easily cause the other person to lose their own train of thought – leading to them getting frustrated and wanting to get away from you as soon as possible.
Another strategy is to repeat back exactly what was just said to you. This lets the other person know you were listening and clearly understood what they were talking about.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER COMMUNICATION
Communication is much more than the words coming out of your mouth. Your self-expression skills become paramount to achieving prosperous social networking.
The objective of communication is always to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings to others.
Your verbal communication needs to clearly focus more on your ability to communicate and share your message and views with others – in a way that they can understand and react to.
Expressing yourself in a clear and concise way has a lot to do with HOW You say something – rather than WHAT you said.
Also, keep in mind that your tone, facial expressions, and body language account for nearly 93% of your communicated message. The actual words you speak represent the remaining 7% of what you said.
INCREASING YOUR EXPOSURE
Exposure is the most critical part of any type of networking.
It’s imperative that you and your business are well known to prospects. Increasing your exposure only happens when you step outside your comfort zone and current circle of influence and contacts.
However, you should immediately start focusing on meeting people that are most likely to have interest in you and your business or opportunity. For example, there is no purpose in networking with plumbers if you know nothing about plumbing…they will see you a mile away as someone that may just be wasting their time.
You can start meeting and networking with at seminars, conferences, trade fairs, exhibitions, online networking sites, etc. In other words, start networking with people that are in the same type of business or niche that you are in. This way, you will have instant credibility if you communicate properly – as well as learn to listen to the other person as well.
People love to talk about themselves and their successes. This gives you a lot of “data” to use when building that coveted relationship with them.
And remember, the first time you meet someone, pay close attention to their appearance, body language, and demeanor. This allows you to adjust your own posture to make the other people feel more comfortable and not over or underwhelmed by you.
As humans, we all have a tendency to lose focus on things and people that just do not appeal or interest us.
This is something you should never do.
You see, Networking is more about the followup than the initial contact. You have to stay in touch with your new social and networking contacts immediately because most people are always on the go or very busy.
Staying in touch is not hard, as a simple email or text message will do. Just avoid spamming and knowing when to stop your followup and communication. This keeps you from being labeled as a pest, pushy or spammer.
There are several things you can and others that you should not do when following up with new Social Networking Contacts.
Try to followup within the nest24 hours. This can be via email, text, social media or phone call. If you can actually establish the best way to follow up or even communicate with your new contacts – ask them at the end of your initial meeting or discussion.
Making Social Networking a strength and priority of yours can dramatically increase your social following and help make you and your business more prosperous.
The more you can increase your circle of influence and social contacts, the better your network will grow and help you achieve your business and personal goals.
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