Today I wanted to write an article to tell you about my vision of networking and explain how I proceed to be as effective as possible and thus achieve my goals.
I recently had the chance to give my vision of networking at an event organized by Lab'up in November 2018. I made the knowledge of Isabelle Sthémer, expert in networking and co-author of the book "You stand up and you decide to develop your network!" She says, quite rightly, that "Making the network is all… except improv! »
1 – The basics of networking
Knowing the codes of networking is making sure to approach these events with the right attitude and the right state of mind. Networking can be defined as:
- An informal moment, but one that must remain professional,
- Who wants to be friendly to meet people, to discover new activities,
- And that must be rich in exchange that allows to expand its network.
The networker's state of mind or mindset
Wondering if you have the right mindset to neworker? If you like to meet new people, be in touch with people and if you like sharing and sharing, you have the right mindset. You're open to others!
Being open-minded is good. Being open-minded and being able to listen is better. During a networking, you will have to meet a large number of people. You'll see that some people listen to respond instantly, often with the effect of shortening the exchange. If I can give you some advice, do not listen to answer but rather to understand.
If you listen to understand, you will be interested in your interlocutor by asking him questions. Your interest will be sincere and your relationship will begin healthily and in the best conditions. It is often said that one becomes interesting by being interested, so remember that it is by being sincerely interested that you will become deeply interesting.
When I talk about listening, I also like to talk about silence. And not just any silence. I want to talk about inner silence, keeping that little voice in you. This voice that very much wants to tell an anecdote or ask a question that you have just thought of while listening to your interlocutor. In the interest of the quality of your exchange, do not think about your next question, keep listening to understand, the questions will come on their own.
Get to know your interlocutors
Knowing your contact isn't just about having your business card or visiting your Facebook or LinkedIn profile. It's a good start, but it's not enough. To know your interlocutor is to know more about your hobbies, your passions, your hobbies. It also means knowing one's industry, its business, which are its customers, partners or suppliers. But that's not all, to get to know your interlocutors, do not hesitate to be interested in his ambitions, his desires and his motivations.
2 – Putting method for more efficiency
We have just seen the great principles of networking and the state of mind in which to be more effective. Now I would like to share with you my personal method to be really effective before, during and after a moment of networking.
Get ready ahead of a networking
Before a networking party or moment, it is imperative to prepare yourself. Personally, I always plan a presentation of 15 seconds, one of 30 seconds and one of 1 min depending on the time that my interlocutor will give me.
When I speak with only one person, there is a good chance that I will have at least one minute to introduce myself. In the case of a conversation with 4 or 5 people, I would rarely have 1 min, which is why it is necessary to have to prepare pitches shorter and just as impactful. When you speak to multiple speakers, you have about 15 seconds of speaking time to make your audience want to give you 5, 10 or even 15 seconds more. You understand here that it is in your best interest to find the words just to present yourself effectively and be able to make a mark. Unsurprisingly, here again, it is by practicing and questioning yourself that you will progress, and therefore that you will become more efficient in your presentations.
The second element, and not least, to prepare a networking: you must have defined at least one goal. This objective can be quite broad: to develop my business. Or it can be more precise: deepen my level of knowledge on a given subject. Whatever happens, never go into networking without knowing first why you're going there.
Optimize your chances of creating synergies
When you network, the goal is not to find customers, partners or providers immediately. The aim is to meet as many new people as possible as possible.
I recently wrote an article about the 6 mobile apps I need to know to network. The idea is to put all the chances on our side to create maximum synergy, no matter the time and no matter where! Article here.
During the unfolding of the networking event, which you wisely prepared, do not let yourself be fooled by what I call French networking. I explain, in France, when we network, we tend to spend 15, 20 or 25 minutes with each interlocutor, and we still too often seek to access the next step, "to conclude".
I oppose French-style networking to Belgian-style networking. The Belgians, on the other side, exchange for 5 minutes or even a maximum of 10 minutes with each interlocutor, which makes them meet more people in the same period of time. I have no doubt that you can read between the lines, which says more encounters, says potentially more synergy possible to explore.
My first piece of advice is this: Try to exchange with as many people as possible at each event and when you start to discern a possible synergy with your interlocutor, stop the conversation, and program gold and already your next Meeting. Plan breakfast, coffee or lunch so you can resume your conversation. Don't lock yourself into a conversation because once you've conditioned your brain on a topic, you'll find it harder and harder to initiate new discussions and see other synergies with those present.
My second advice: After speaking with an interlocutor, in an attitude to understand, to ask questions, and finally to know the person, it is imperative that you take the time to write down the essentials of your conversation. And this to be able to return to your interlocutor in the best conditions. To write a note between two meetings is to value the past exchange, and it is also and above all to free your mind so that you can be fully available for your next interlocutor.
Personally I use Remembr to unload my mind
I recently created a web-mobile platform, Remembr, which allows you to never forget a person I've met or any important conversations! The print media to talk about Remembr in another form that I really like, saying:
"Remembr, or when your address book adopts a sense of detail!"
Remembr is more than just an address book. The tool provides as much detail as you want about each of your contacts. It offers the possibility to create or even import your contacts so as not to go back to 0. For each contact you can combine an infinite number of notes to always be able to contextualize your encounters and conversations. You can also schedule a reminder for each note so you don't miss rereading your information on time, and therefore relaunch ingesting people you've met.
Designed to meet the need for networkers to build an address book, the app incorporates features such as creating a contact automatically from the photo of its business card. No need to enter the data, you can dedicate yourself entirely to listening to your interlocutors.
Using Remembr is like relying on what we can call your second memory or even the extension of your relational memory. Empty your head after each encounter without losing the essence of each of your relationships.