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6 Easy Steps to Being a Master Networker

When there’s only so much time in the day, it’s easy to overlook the value of building and maintaining your professional relationships.

Stephen Key

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But being stressed and busy is no excuse. Relationships take effort, of course, but throughout my career, I’ve constantly been reminded that my success is dependent on the strength of my network. You really can’t do it all alone!

Thankfully, I’ve discovered that the simplest tricks – tricks you’ve heard before, but aren’t truly putting into practice – have an enormous impact on relationship building. They don’t take a lot of effort, but they do take commitment. That said, even taking these six simple steps can help you prioritise relationships in your life almost immediately.

1. Remember names.

Names have power. We’re all impressed when someone remembers our name, because it makes us feel important and worth remembering. Make an effort to cultivate that feeling in others. To help yourself remember, repeat someone’s name multiple times over the course of your conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat his or her name. And if you have forgotten a name, cop up to it. Asking to be reminded still shows you care.

2. Give people your undivided attention.

Look people straight in the eye. Yes, it’s intimate but don’t shy away from that. Making good eye contact demonstrates interest. It will also make you appear confident and charming. Do not let yourself be distracted by other people or whatever else is going on around you. And definitely do not look at your phone. Making someone feel like the most important person in the room when you’re talking to them can go a long way in building your relationship.

3. Don’t interrupt.

There is no easier way to get people to like and respect you than to listen intently. We all love sharing our own points of view. It’s much harder to simply shut up and let someone express himself. When you let people speak without interruption, they will become more and more comfortable with you. Without having said anything, you’ll put them at ease. I’ve found this advice especially beneficial during negotiations and when trying to help employees or colleagues reach their full potential. Often, people just want to be heard. And they feel much happier after they have.

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4. Ask questions.

Start asking more questions. Asking questions demonstrates sincerity. If you meet someone who is quiet or having a hard time articulating his thoughts, ask him a question. Not too personal of a question, of course. But if you’re having trouble making conversation, start asking questions and you’ll be surprise how talkative people can get.

5. Smile.

It’s the number one thing you can do to put someone at ease. When someone smiles at you, you pause, right? It can even be disarming – in a good way. Smiling does not come easily to everyone. You may need to practice.

I’ve given many speeches and found that spending a few seconds simply smiling calmly at the podium before I get started helps put my audience at ease and get them on my side. It’s pretty remarkable how much power this very simple action holds.

6. Follow up.

If you say you’re going to follow up, do. Actually, I think that always following up is a good practice. Again, this is a very simple thing, which actually can have a lot of power. You’ll be remembered as thoughtful and caring. Don’t let too much time pass before getting in touch.

These six strategies add up. If you use all of them, you will leave a lasting, great impression. That is pretty priceless. You can use these simple tips anywhere from a dinner party to a business meeting. If you do, I bet people will increasingly listen to you, look up to you, respect you and even follow you.

What’s your best networking tip? Let us know in the comments section below…

Stephen Key is an inventor, author, speaker and co-founder of InventRight, LLC., a Glenbrook, Nev.-based company that educates entrepreneurs in how to bring ideas to market. In the last 25 years, he has liscenced more than 20 new products. He is author of the One Simple Idea series of books including One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs, (McGraw-Hill, 2012).

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Networking

Why I Never Meet Someone For Coffee

The conventional offer of “getting coffee” is, in my opinion, one of the most frustrating offers that can be made.

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First off, I need to make clear that I am not against meeting people for coffee or even drinking coffee. My issue is that I’ve learned that the offer to go get coffee usually means that somebody wants something from me. Whether it is time, money or to help them make a connection, an offer to grab a drink almost always has some ulterior motive behind it.

You might think that I flat out don’t want to help others, but the real issue is the other opportunities that I have in front of me. I have a lot on my plate, so dedicating the time to a “quick” coffee meeting does not make much sense.

Related: Starbucks Coffee Is All About Culture… For A Reason

Say no to getting coffee

Hours spent in the office doing business are not the time to sit back, relax or socialise. I try to be as efficient, effective and statistically successful as possible during work hours (and beyond). The conventional offer of “getting coffee” is, in my opinion, one of the most frustrating offers that can be made.

I rarely take anyone up on the offer to “do lunch” during work hours. Just consider the amount of time that it takes to get to and from a coffee or lunch meeting, and how much business could be done in that same time.

Then, think about the inefficiencies of utilising that time for things such as small talk, even before you get to the critical business issue.

Have an objective in mind

I have the objective to try and keep every phone call to a maximum of five minutes. When it comes to in-person meetings, I prefer them to take place at my office or overlapping other meetings I have outside the office, which I call “holding court.”

Even then, I try to keep those meetings to 20 minutes long. This allows me to fit in as many meetings or calls as possible. So many people make the excuse that they are “doing business” and then leave the office to do unimportant things, or overlap their meetings around errands.

Make no mistake, I’m not advising against meeting people in person. I’m saying take control of the business opportunity and have them come to you, or meet them somewhere convenient when you are outside of the office.

Related: 5 Ways That Coffee Affects Productivity

No coffee, just grind

The majority of lunch and coffee meetings that take place are nothing but an inefficient use of time. I would suggest not only rejecting such meetings during work hours, but to also stop asking for coffee meetings unless they’re absolutely necessary.

How do you determine whether or not a meeting is necessary? Take a look at the reasons and impacts the meeting can have. If these outweigh the potential drawbacks of an in-person meeting, then it is acceptable to ask. Make sure that you focus on making efficiency a key principle when chasing your objectives.

Stay focused in on critical business issues and you will find that focus will provide you with everything you desire in business and life.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Great Places To Take Your Clients When Networking

Are you hoping to make a lasting impression on your client? Maybe you are trying to woo a new client? If that’s the case, you’re going to want to read on and check out these great places that are ideal for taking your clients to.

Jeff Broth

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Do you live in South Africa and work at a job that entails taking clients out while networking? Are you tired of doing the same activities over and over? Are you hoping to make a lasting impression on your client? Maybe you are trying to woo a new client? If that’s the case, you’re going to want to read on and check out these great places that are ideal for taking your clients to.

Introduce Them to Casino Action and Fun

There’s no better way to make a splash with your clients than by taking them to one of the many casinos found in South Africa. Between the cities of Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Queenstown, Pretoria, and Sun City there are more than 15 casinos to check out. Casinos offer a light and fun atmosphere that is perfect for letting loose. At the same time, they aren’t too loud, which means you can go ahead and sneak in a little shop talk.

Related: The Top 10 Behaviours To Avoid When Networking

Besides the casinos, you can also take your clients to horse races and even bingo. If the casino action is a big hit with them, be sure to let them know there are a large amount of South African online casinos that offer all the same types of games, plus a whole lot more.

Enjoy a Sports Game

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Professional sports events are another fabulous spot to take your clients. You get that laid back casual atmosphere that allows you to stray from the traditional business attire, it’s a chance to get out of the office, and you can introduce your client to your own home team.

South Africa is well-known around the world for its love of sports. Among the most popular are rugby, cricket, and soccer. If you want to take them to the most popular sport in the country, however, soccer is the clear winner. Loftus Versveld and Ellis Park are two stadiums that are known to draw in some very rowdy crowds. Just be sure to get your tickets well in advance so you don’t end up disappointing your client.

Share the Local Cuisine

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking your client out for a meal, this particular option tends to be over-done. In order to make yours a memorable experience, skip the chain restaurants and typical locations and instead introduce your client to local and authentic cuisine. These are the places the tourists don’t tend to visit, but the locals know all about.

Plan an Adventure Tour

paragliding

Before you go ahead and choose this option, it’s a good idea to learn as much as possible about your client in advance. Not everyone is up to adventure activities, so you want to be sure you don’t put them in an uncomfortable position.

Related: 3 Practical Tips To Nail Networking

If you’ve got the green light, however, there are all kinds of activities you can take part in. Adventures can include a private helicopter tour, paragliding, zip-lining, a shark watching tour, a private surfing lesson, whale watching, kayaking, a sightseeing tour (by bus, car, or foot), bicycling, hiking, snorkelling, horseback riding on the beach, or even High Tea in Cape Town.

All of these ideas are unique and memorable so you know the visit will leave a lasting impression in your client’s mind.

Don’t Be Afraid to Think Outside the Box

When it comes to entertaining your clients while you spend time networking, there is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking outside the box. Coming up with unique ideas is sure to leave that lasting impression in their mind, which is exactly what you are striving for.

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Networking

The Top 10 Behaviours To Avoid When Networking

There are some things that you should and should not do while networking – it’s important to know the difference.

Ivan Misner

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In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Ivan Misner goes over the 10 behaviours that you should not exhibit in a networking group.

Sharing your problems and grievances with fellow networkers and guests is not a good idea while meeting and socialising with others in the group. Winging presentations, being late and using your phone are other things to avoid, too.

Networking is key to the success of a company. In fact, a single referral source can bring a chain reaction of new business to your company. That’s why it’s vital to make your time and efforts worthwhile in networking groups.

Related: Proactive Networking – Your Network Is Your Net Worth

Success in these groups will happen when the rest of the group members trust enough to open up their best referrals. That’s why it’s vital to avoid these behaviours and demonstrate professionalism.

To learn more, click play.

Related: 3 Practical Tips To Nail Networking

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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