The 4 Ingredients of Networking

Many of us have heard of, seen or even used the 4 Ingredients Cookbook. In this recipe book, the author shares recipes where you only require 4 ingredients to make tasty and easy meals and other baking creations.

We can see that although many cooks often use many ingredients to make fantastic food, we can also do this with minimal ingredients.

On the same theme, there are many hints and tips that can help you to achieve great results from your networking. I have chosen just 4 ‘Ingredients/actions’ that, if applied to all your networking, will help you to not only achieve great results but make networking simpler and less stressful.

Ingredient/Action #1- Show People You Care

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

In your personal and business interactions, it is always important to make others feel special and show that you care about them.

An effective way to show you care about others and what they do is to ask them questions about themselves. When they are talking, listen with your ears and eyes, rather than continually trying to talk about yourself. (more about this in Ingredient #4)

In business, showing care and concern to others can be done in many ways:

  • Sharing something you know may help them in business, for example, an article on a topic that you know would help them to grow their business or that they may be interested in
  • Sharing a referral after you have heard someone talk about needing a product or service they provide
  • Making an introduction to another person, who could possibly become a strategic alliance partner with them.
  • Offering to mentor or support them if they are going through a ‘tough time’ or needing help in some area

In a networking event, you can easily show you care if you see someone looking nervous, uncomfortable or shy.

Ways you can help:

  • Introduce yourself and chat with them. By asking them questions about themself, helps to relieve their stress of being at the event and having to talk with others.
  • Offer to introduce them to others you know. This will allow you to talk to others and also move away from them to meet other people at the event without leaving them on their own again.
  • If you do not know anyone else at the event, you can offer to go together to introduce yourselves to a group of people talking. It is often easier to ‘break into’ a group of people talking if you have a friend to do this with.

Remember Maya Angelou’s quote and think about how are you making the people around you feel.

Ingredient/Action #2- Be Friendly

No one wants to be around, talk with for any length of time or build a relationship with unfriendly and negative people. People will naturally ‘gravitate’ to those who smile a lot, are friendly towards others and talk positively about others and situations.

Our body language can be showing that we do not want to be at the event and don’t want to talk to others without us even knowing we are doing this. When we are stressed, we may appear to be less friendly and less ‘open’ to talking with others. In these situations, it is important to put a smile on our face and try to show that we are friendly.

Remember to smile, try to look less stressed. Probably others at the event are feeling just as stressed as you are.

Ingredient/Action #3- Build Relationships

Attending networking events and connecting with others is just the first step to networking effectively and benefitting from attending the event. The most important next step after the event is to follow up with the people you have connected with and to continue to develop the relationship. This could include a phone call, an email or an invitation to a meeting either face to face or online. In this follow up meeting, it is recommended to share more about yourselves with each other, see what you may have in common and work out how you can help each other and possibly do business with each other.

Remember the word NETWORK includes the word WORK and most of this work involves developing the relationship.

Ingredient/Action #4- Listen More and Talk Less

The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, definitely applies when you are attending networking events. When you are speaking with someone at an event, remember to listen for 80% of the time and talk for 20% of the time.

Whether this is in a smaller networking group or in the larger events, this rule always applies.

Everyone, including you and I, like to talk about ourselves, our business and our experiences. There most certainly is a time and place to share but not in depth at a networking event when you first meet someone.

Often, people think that the other person needs to know everything about their business so that they will do business with them.

The opposite usually applies, the more you talk about your business and the products or services you provide, the more likely the other person will ‘tune out’ and want to leave the conversation. If you are going to share briefly about your products and services, only talk about how the products or services you provide can benefit the other person or their business.

So, make sure you keep your sharing brief and relevant to the person you are talking with.

Remember people would rather talk about themselves than to listen to you talk about yourself. Listening more will gain you far more respect as an effective networker and a person who others want to be around.



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