The four networking rules you should break to connect with others like you’re members of a family
The key to growing a successful business is networking. We at TTI Success Insights network a little differently – we network like we are members of a family, with warmth and human connection. Family connections have staying power and are fiercely loyal. While there are many best practices of networking (see here, here or here), our network of world-renowned trainers, coaches, and recruiters break four common networking rules to connect with others and build long lasting, deep interpersonal relationships. While you may already be implementing family-like networking, here are four ways you can practice:
1. Make the time
The rule to break: Move quickly from person to person at networking events
The best family members sit down, listen, and repeat what you say, showing empathy and understanding. To strengthen professional bonds, understand another’s business experiences and challenges by taking time and using active listening skills. This simply cannot be done with speed networking.
Put it in action: Check your stopwatch at the door. Seek quality conversations, not quantity.
2. Let conversations flow organically
The rule to break: Have your list of questions ready
At family gathers, people often gravitate to family members who supply a gentle give-and-take during conversation and avoid those who ask questions intensely. Our network uses this fact by having conversation starters in their back pocket, not as a to do list in front of them. They avoid aggressively asking questions of another person in a rapid fire manner. Instead, the conversations grow organically and the relationship strengthens based on trust and mutual respect.
Put it in action: Let conversations flow. Be gentle, not intense, during your conversations.
3. Help others first
The rule to break: Give and receive
Sometimes, to further a family we must help others before ourselves. We find this to be true professionally as well. Put simply, reciprocity does not happen immediately. Coaches, trainers, and recruiters we work with often put others before themselves. Ultimately, they obtain advice, support, mentorship and more opportunities than they had before. This long-term benefit is founded on trust and desire to support those in your network by helping others first.
Put it in action: Be altruistic. Expect to not receive an immediate benefit.
4. Connect with non-influencers
The rule to break: Connect with speakers and those who are well known
At conferences and events, speakers, event coordinators, and influencers are busy. Many people try to connect with these industry celebrities, making each connection attempt less memorable for them. Instead, our network builds strong relationships with people before they become industry famous. It’s like building a relationship as a child with a cousin who grows to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Instead of seeking out industry celebrities, look for non-influencers in your industry who have strong leadership potential. As they rise over their career, they will take you with them.
Put it in action: Look for potential, not fame or fortune.
There is power in a real, authentic relationships. Restoring warmth and familial social skills when networking can help you to grow personally and professionally over the long term. So at your next conference or industry event, network like a family member and create lasting relationships that will support you throughout your career.