Photo: Courtesy Matt Spencer

5 Steps to Networking Karma

November, 2014

Matt Spencer
Director of Events & Special Projects, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii

Networking is a potent tool for personal advancement. But Matt Spencer of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii says that, if you turn this premise on its head and use networking to help others, you’ll ultimately reap the rewards by building stronger, deeper networks:

1. Become a trusted source
Network with the intention of helping other people, not yourself. Take the time to listen and hear their stories. You can only provide something of value to someone by learning who they are and what they do. People enjoy doing business with those they like and trust. Trust may take time to foster, but it is worth the effort.

2. Connect others
Connecting like-minded people who can potentially help each other is a powerful way to enhance your network. Even if they aren’t interested in making those connections, the offer will be appreciated. Develop the habit of introducing people and asking if your contacts want to be connected with others.

3. Learn to read others
Carefully observe body language to know how to react to others. A wandering gaze, a small step away from you and increasingly shorter responses may indicate it’s time to end the conversation. If so, conclude on a positive note. “Thanks Mike, I’m glad we talked, you gave me some interesting ideas.”

4. Give off good vibes
Use eye contact, gestures, posture and tone of voice to help convey your interest in others. Although this seems basic, most people don’t consciously think about their body language.

5. Keep relationships thriving
To ensure you’re meeting new people and building existing relationships, take the time to make a simple phone call or send an email inviting a contact for coffee, lunch or just to say “hi,” which can go a long way.


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