Monday, July 30, 2012

The One Purpose in Event Attendance

It’s clear by the limited results that so many experience that many professionals are confused as to the primary networking purpose in event attendance. While most understand that successful networking is built on developing meaningful trust relationships their event performance belies that intent.

The sole purpose in attending events is to determine who to meet one-on-one outside the event. You’re not looking to be advocated or start referring your key clients. Heck you don’t even know if you like someone let alone trust them after 3-5 minutes together at a networking event. The best you can hope for is to learn enough to see if getting together makes sense.

While event participation is important, effectively meeting with the right people one-on-one is where networking value is created. Join us over the next several weeks as we explore how to get the most out of one-on-one meetings.

Monday, July 23, 2012

When Trust Breaks Down There are 5 Rules

Something happened. The details of what exactly happened doesn't really matter, in someone else's eyes you failed to deliver. It doesn’t even matter if it’s your fault or not. Your relationships hinge on how much you care about others. Overcoming breakdowns in trust and rebuilding the relationship is your largest networking opportunity. In the words of John Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

When you or your company makes a mistake follow these 5 rules:
  1. Speed - This rule underscores the other four rules. Relationships are perishable. Problems are like cancer. The quicker you act the more is preserved. 
  2. Understand - Use your empathic listening to fully understand the problem or issue. 
  3. Apologize - Saying that you’re sorry is an amazing elixir for healing. It doesn’t have to be your fault for you to express that you’re sorry. 
  4. Fix - Remediate the problem. 
  5. Confirm - Check-in to make sure that all is well and to see if you can be of additional assistance. 
We don’t always control what happens, but we do control how we respond. Many good relationships have been made great when a constituent experiences how much we care. If you want passionate advocates let your associates experience you at your best when the chips are down.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Elements of Building Trust

As we discussed last week, building a foundation of trust in your community is critical to networking success. Without trust meaningful exchange does not happen.

Here are the four most important components of trust:

Competence - Are you competent? Referrals go to people who can solve problems, people who are the best at what they do, and people who will make us look good when we refer to them.

Empathic - Are you a good listener? Truly understanding the goals, passions and interests of others from their point view of allows networkers to make the most productive connection, thereby building the deepest relations.

Believable - Are you believable? “Always honest no matter what” is the credo for those who are most believable. Our communication style also plays into our believability. Being direct, comfortable and adjusting to the style of the receiver helps our believability. Pretenders are always discovered.

Reliable - Do you walk the walk? Doing what you say you’re going to do and making your actions congruent with ethical principles is fundamental to building reliability. You can do a lot of things right, but if you’re not reliable your efforts will all be for naught.

There is no perfection in building trust. In fact imperfection often allows our community to experience how much we really care. Next week post will be about responding to a self-created breakdown of trust.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Testing Your Trust IQ

Building and maintaining trust in your community is the most important critical success factor for networkers. You can do a lot of other things right, but if your peers and associates don’t trust you you’re sunk.
Building and maintaining trust is a long-term proposition. Not only does trust take a long time to foster, but its maintenance takes constant vigilance. Those who look for the get rich solution to being perceived as trustworthy need not apply here.
The presence of trust allows professionals to collaborate, refer, advocate, connect and passionately create efficiencies for each other that would otherwise be unattainable.
Over the next couple of weeks we will explore the topic of trust and how you can build and maintain a high level of trust with your community.
To help us kick off the conversation, please answer the question below about trust. Not only will you see the results to date when you submit your response, but we’ll also publish a full summary next week. The factors that allow trust are very individual and in some cases situational so your prospective is very important to this conversation!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Do You Inwork?

Progressive employers are working hard to create a culture of referral through inworking. While most networkers focus their efforts outside of their company, some are creating spectacular success by focusing in-house.

First adopted by multi-discipline professional practice firms a few years back, inworking is the act of networking within your organization. Take the example of a 300 person accounting firm with 6 areas of specialty. Normally in a firm like this each business unit would operate completely independently. Each discipline would participate in independent networks. In this best practice firm however, cross discipline inworking events take place frequently at all levels. These inworking events look a lot like the networking events that you've been to except everyone is from the same firm. A foundation of managing partner engagement and continuous partner and associate training have created a dynamic where the firm now generates more new clients from internal referral than any other source.

Other businesses use inworking events to provide a better connection between staff and management as well as staff who are geographically distributed. These practices are great for helping individuals develop their own career advancement network within the company as well as connecting to peers for collaborative purposes.

Ultimately inworking builds the most valuable organizational asset, the staff effectiveness and efficiency. When inworking is well implemented and nurtured the institutional knowledge is fully leveraged.