For most business owners and top executives business networking is just part of the job. Some network more than others and even a few try to avoid it due to being uncomfortable with direct contact with people, but overall all businesses need to have someone out in the business network.
So, what makes a good business networker?
Really, anyone can be part of the network. All it takes is stepping out of the office to attend a gathering of people. What makes business networking strange for some is the type of gathering they attend. Naturally, attending an event organized for business networking makes it easier. However, connecting to the business community’s network can be done at just about any type of gathering. Networking in a non-business arena takes someone who is good at business networking.
Someone deemed good at business networking is usually a person who shares more than a cocktail with someone. They share their experience in situations and, of course, share contacts they may know who would be of interest to what someone else has expressed they are out to find. A good business networker sometimes takes on the role of curator of who is in the room or in the business community who would benefit in meeting someone needing their help. Some people would call a good business networker a matchmaker, but only in the sense of matching a consumer’s need with a supplier’s want. Sometime matching interest or needs are impossible to do especially if the network is avoid of anyone to match someone’s interest with.
Social Butterflies Migration
What is not part of being a good business networker has to do with being more of a social butterfly than a networker. The person who attends business networking events to be seen more than providing the community anything is sometimes seen by many as a good business networker when in fact they really have little to offer anyone. This type of overly social personally is great and does attract interest, but really hinders the business networking event if a room full of them. This is not to say social networking has no place in business networking. Oh contraire, social networking skills play a huge part in how business networking is done today. What is taking place is the social only individuals have different motives…like finding a date, or people to hang out with… which eventually conflict with those who came to the event looking for business connections or opportunities.
As a result the events turn both groups of networkers off since they are not accomplishing their goals. This friction sends many of these networkers to their online social networks to express their dissatisfaction with the gathering. Usually this leads to the group who organized the gathering to get a huge black eye for which leads to the gathering to be seen by many as a place not to be.
What also is not part of being a good networker deals with the opposite of the social butterfly…the business only people…the business owner who makes it their business to make every conversation at any function, social or business, about them and only THEM. This type of business networker usually is the person who starts out their conversation with ‘Do you know anyone in your contacts I could talk to that…”. This seemingly harmless question is really the sucker punch leading up to the conversation going one of two directions for which either one of them will result in usually a very, very short interaction. This person’s needs are very focused and they are only interested in working the room of the gathering to find who they can hammer for business. Usually…not always…these outspoken individuals get upset if they do not find what they are looking for immediately…or if they do find what they look for will not stay around long enough to reciprocate.
These types of ‘business only’ networkers are sometimes wrongfully seemed as good business networkers because of their high level of boasting and pontificating. If anything, these tyrants of the business networking arena are the most worthless of the business networkers. They are a receiver only and purposefully claim their high level of authority in their field as the reason they need information they are after. Their social skills are usually based on their vocabulary and method of wordsmith with little sense of humor. These individuals also will bring along an entourage of supporters wherever they go. Very seldom does this type of business networkers crack or divulge any helpful information of anything outside them.
Changes Have Been Made
What makes a good business networker in today’s business community is someone who is more social than business. People are more interested in learning more about who they are talking to before knowing what they do professionally. This movement away from formalities and structure is an about-face from how business networking was conducted. Building Trust first is now part of what is more important to business people. Having a more social professionalism generates a more trustful disposition which will bring the socializing to the next level of true business networking. Business people today are more open when they can trust someone and will in a short time become more reciprocating.
Gone are the days of the 30 second elevator speeches (thank goodness). Today’s social networking bring in the New Way of business networking through humorous social banter as a way of finding out if the people around them are really people or robots out to only serve themselves.
So, if you are looking to find a good business networker, look for the person who uses social networking skills to business network. At the very least you will have a heck of a better time with them than standing in front of someone who just advised you that you are a waste of time. Happy business networking and let me know how I can help.