Whether you are a CSAE executive or supplier member, much (if not most) of your success depends on your ability to build and maximize relationships with members, stakeholders, and influencers by networking effectively.
What does it take to achieve success?
In my twenty-plus years of relentless research on networking, I have dissected the ingredients of a networking success formula. Below are characteristics I have found in every successful networker I have met, whether in the not-for-profit, corporate, or entrepreneurial worlds.
This is one of the most overlooked, but necessary traits of the successful networker: the quality of being open to and, in fact, seeking out new contacts, seeing them as additional assets and resources. They always take the initiative, thereby making others more comfortable and at ease with the process.
Successful networkers have developed their ability to be sincerely curious. This genuine curiosity acts as a beacon, attracting interest and creating a deep psychological bond with others in a short period. It is an acquired skill that immediately makes others feel liked and accepted.
Successful networkers have discovered the little-known secret of using networking as the basis for relationships. They see each interaction as a powerful catalyst that impacts and accelerates the relationship process. They know that by demonstrating they care about the other person, they create a powerful bond and build trust.
4. Skilled Communicator
Just as a Judo expert uses an opponent’s weight to their advantage, successful networkers realize effective communication is the result of being a better listener and asking better questions rather than parroting an "elevator pitch." In this way, they allow the other person to be the centre of attention as they gain valuable information.
5. Create Value
Value is a critical success factor in business and life. Successful networkers accept that every contact has inherent value. They make it a priority to discover the other person’s value; then they actively seek ways to unselfishly and openly leverage that value, either for themselves or others.
Although successful networkers understand networking is a powerful and productive ignition point for a relationship, they also accept that without further impetus and interaction, the spark will die. They take full responsibility for moving relationships forward, recognizing the process can take weeks or even months.
The most successful networkers contribute first, often, and most. They take a leadership role in groups, at events, and in relationships. They have come to realize that having the courage to contribute goes against the grain of our "me-first" society. And in doing so, they unlock the doorway to networking success.
You have already mastered most of these. You would not have achieved your current success without them. The real question is "Which of these characteristics do you need to work on to get even more from your association membership?"
Michael Hughes is known as North America’s Networking Guru. To have Michael speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him at www.NetworkingForResults.com. He is also presenting a CSAE webinar, How to Turn 3-Minute Conversations Into Relationships, Referrals and Revenues in June, 2017. It addresses common networking myths and imparts the means to leverage the most out of your networking opportunities.