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Do you Network Properly?

By : Ziad K. Abdelnour| 28 June 2013
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I used to love attending networking events and crowded conferences. I’m a bit of an extrovert and it always felt great networking with people of all walks of life and sizing up in a heartbeat who was real and who was a total waste of time.

I realized later on that those networking events are a total waste of time… So I decided not to attend any one of them unless I was invited as a panel or keynote speaker. Since then, all started to work like a charm.

Given my experience in the domain, I thought about sharing some of my thoughts with you so you can get the most out of your time spent.

1.Stop Obsessive Networking

The more people you know–really know–the more likely you are to make that important connection you need to take your career, company, or venture to the next level. All the rest is a waste of time. I am flabbergasted by the number of people who keep aggressively requesting to connect with me on social media and then totally vanish for years like if we never connected. Why on earth did they take so much effort to connecting with me in the first place without any follow up? Just to have me as a number on their respective profiles? Hilarious.

Once again, networking should not be about meeting as many people as possible in as short amount of time. I work hard to figure out what I can do for someone else when I meet them. Who can I connect them to? What can I do for them (outside of selling them my stuff)? What resource or information can I share that will help them out? True connection is a two-way street.

2.Be Selective

I attend one event a week. If I pick a new event, and it’s not right for me, I don’t go back. If it ends up being a good use of my time, where I meet quality people who are interesting and interested, then it makes it onto my list of events to attend in the future.

One such event I organize on a bi-monthly basis is the “Financial Policy Council” Series of Events in New York City which attracts almost 150 people every other month. There is an unspoken rule that people don’t sell to each other in there –it’s about getting to know someone new and to give everyone a place to make new valuable connections. That is the key for success coupled with speakers second to none.

3.Be Focused

One of my colleagues makes it a point to only meet one person at any given event and spends his time really getting to know that one person. He relies on that deep connection to potentially connect him with the rest of their network.

I am not as hyper-focused, but try to have a meaningful conversation with only about five people at every event I attend or for each day of a conference. This results in enough contacts to plan one day of meetings and get to know each of them more deeply within a couple of weeks of the initial introduction. I have found that seeking to establish a quality relationship with a few people provides the greatest payoff for my efforts.

4.Follow Up

I usually follow a philosophy that I have always found to be true. To be specific, I believe if you don’t follow-up with someone within 10 days after meeting them it was never meant to happen.

This is my way of determining those that are really serious about establishing a relationship and those just connecting for the sake of connecting.

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