Saturday, March 16, 2013

Girl with a Gameplan: Becoming A Master Networker and Super-Connector

A few months ago, I blogged some tips for crafting an impactful elevator speech.  One of the big takeways was that an elevator speech is supposed to start a dialogue, not close the deal. But, as if coming up with a brief, creative and compelling pitch isn't challenging enough, it can be just as tough to figure out what to do once you've gotten your foot in the door.

Scott Gerber, Founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, recently offered advice on becoming a master networker by building strong and viable relationships for the long term.  Here's how:

1. Do  Things for Others Before Yourself
If you try to turn every person you meet into a prospect or someone you want something from, you'll likely fail more than you succeed.  Instead, inquire into what their needs are before considering getting something in exchange. Brainstorm how you might be able to help them to become more successful or efficient. Be mindful of your time, but know that if you want to build a relationship with someone it's more important to impress upon them that you're an asset not just a one-time conversation.

2. Access is Everything
The goal is to add value and create win-win situations.  To do this, you want to possess ownership over something that other people want.  This ownership can be over a specific approach, service, or a technology that your competitors lack.  Put your thinking cap on. Figure out how you can have ownership over something and maximize what you own to help others realize and achieve their goals.  

3. Meet, Connect, and Repeat
Make sure you create a value based system of networking and connecting. If you can't meet someone's needs, figure out who you know that you can connect them with to help solve their issues.  The more you can connect people that are like-minded and can help eachother, the more you are a super-connector.  And the more you become known as a super-connector, the more people will want to know you to find out who else you know.

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