Business Lesson 12
Networking is the foundation of any good business. The more extensive and intricate the network, the greater the possibility for growth and partnership is. At this time more than ever, who you know is more important than what you know. For this reason, learning proper networking techniques can prove to be the difference between employment and unemployment. In all honesty, networking is really nothing more than being memorable. The previous lesson stated that a first impression is everything, and this couldn’t be more accurate. Here are some guidelines to follow when trying to establish connections in the business world:
1/ NO religion and NO politics
I know this may appear painfully obvious to some, however you would be surprised by how often these topics are accidentally brought up into conversation, especially if the two of you are unable to find a topic of conversation and are from completely different cultural backgrounds. For example, if a man from Spain goes to the United States for a conference, odds are that the only subjects covered in Spanish national news regarding the U.S. are politically related (and vice-versa). Therefore it becomes very difficult for the Spanish man to ask about his host country without inserting some type of politically influenced comment.
2/ Be friendly but never try too hard
Careful, I didn’t say ‘don’t work too hard. Trying too hard signifies that a person is making a dreadfully obvious attempt at making friends with someone. We have all experienced this, and it is likely that we’re all guilty of it as well. You cannot make someone like you. If your attempts at conversation have failed, move on. The world has a population in the billions; there are many more people to speak with. If it is essential to make friends with this person (i.e. They are the CEO of a company that you really want to work for), wait until the next opportunity arises. If you follow this strategy, instead of the CEO remembering you as the annoying person bothering him all afternoon, he will likely forget you two had even met and you essentially have the benefit of beginning from square one during your next encounter.
3/ Be kind to everyone you meet
All religious and humanitarian roots aside, there is a famous idiom in English that is as follows: ‘be kind to everyone you meet because you never know whom your next boss may be.’ From a business perspective, it is better to be known as friendly and sociable than rigid and polarising (however, the higher up the job ladder you climb, the more these traits will be reversed). Choose your battles carefully and be sure not to create too many enemies before allies.
4/ Intelligent vs. pretentious
Present yourself as intelligent, confident, informed, and cultured, but don’t be pretentious. What this means is that no one in the room needs to know you attended Harvard Law School and were the top of your class as well as on the Dean’s List. What they would be interested in however, is the carefully crafted manner in which you speak…
The greater the possibility
More than ever
For this reason
In all honesty
To establish connections
Choose your battles carefully!
The top of your class
Your ability to discuss topics