Business networking: Reaching for a higher goal
If you’ve had a modicum of success with forging new networking connections, why not consider a move up the networking ladder?
As people move deeper into engaging with those high-level connections, operating in a more rarified air can pay off big time!
Heeding these tips on how to engage with the bigwigs could provide a powerful boost to your business.
- Be judicious with your compliments. Those high-level professionals — CEOs, VIPs and strategically important individuals — are used to upstarts requesting special favors. They will likely tune you out when you pour on the praise.
- Assume a humble position from the start. Respectfully wait until an opportune moment to gently enter into the conversation. This will give you a graceful opening. In fact, it’s a good idea to listen first. Then you can remember details that may prove helpful later. If you are too busy trying to sell yourself to a strategically positioned connection, you may miss opportunities to take advantage of a bit of natural chemistry that sometimes brings two business people together.
- Pose casual questions to build personal rapport. Avoid any direct mention of doing business, or a line of questioning that could be interpreted as not appropriate for the occasion.
- Show respect for a higher-up’s time. As people move up the ladder, they carry a heavier load of responsibility and often field a lot of responsibilities. If you want to connect with a VIP, continually be on the lookout for subtle body language that says, “You’ve buttonholed me and it’s making me uncomfortable.”
- Respect the position of a well-connected businessperson. If you do, you may have that golden opportunity to forge a business relationship with another successful business owner. That can open the door to some stellar opportunities.
Of course, none of this will happen, if you send an underling to the next networking session. Try to schedule the time to attend those executive functions and meet other business leaders on a monthly basis. If you do, who knows just where it will take you? Even so, you still need to make the commitment to show up. That’s 90 percent of the winning networking formula!