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Do These 3 Things & You’ll Be A Much Better Networker

I was stunned recently when, within 15 minutes of a concert I attended, I found a potential buyer for my 94 year-old Grandma’s summer cottage 2,000 miles across the country.

How did I do it?

I found a potential buyer for my Grandma's house at a....Jerry Garcia Tribute Concert!?

This wasn’t just luck — although you could argue that the tips I’m going to share are all ways to increase your luck…or serendipity as I like to call it.

Either way, it was a positive thing…so I re-engineered what happened and am sharing the three tips below.

And I really like these 3 networking tips cuz all are real easy to do and remember.

3 Networking Tips

Networking Tip #1: Attend Events You Enjoy (It’s That Easy!)

The first thing I did was to attend an event I knew I’d enjoy.

A friend had invited me to a “Tribute To Jerry Garcia” concert put on by the REX Foundation…and I’m a huge live music/Jerry Garcia fan!

Why is attending an event you’ll enjoy so important to networking?

Because you are going to be most comfortable and amicable when you’re doing something you enjoy — and you’ll be surrounded by people who share a passion of yours.

This reminds me of a dating advice tip I once learned from my friend/colleague David DeAngelo (aka Eben Pagan), the author of Double Your Dating.

David D. would tell men that it’s a lot easier meeting women doing your favorite hobby then it is at a bar (unless your hobby is drinking…in which case you’ve got some additional challenges).

The same is true of networking — I was comfortable at this “Tribute to Jerry Garcia” event and feeling more conversational with a few people around me before the show began.

That’s when I met Denis.

Networking Recommendation

Think of a few of your favorite hobbies (e.g. sports, books, food, knitting, photography, Star Trek, etc.) and try networking during one of those.

Networking Tip #2: Ask Questions (“Break The Ice!”)

If you’ve been reading my stuff (such as my piece on How To Sell Better through Spin Selling) you’ve heard me talk about how important asking questions is to your success.

Networking is no different: you need to ask people questions to connect with people.

That’s what happened with Denis and I: he was sitting at table with a few of us and we started chatting about basic stuff like:

“Where are you from?”

“Have you seen this band before”"

That’s when Denis mentioned that he had grown up near the town of Woodstock, New York (and he had attended Woodstock the event!).

My grandma has a house about an hour’s drive from Woodstock.

I sure do love my Grandma!

That’s when this dialogue ensued:

Me: “Where exactly did you grow up?”

Denis: “The Catskills”

Me: “Where exactly in the Catskills?”

Denis: “South Fallsburg”

I nearly fell out of my chair.

Me: “My grandma’s got a place in South Fallsburg.”

Denis: “You don’t say! Where’s her house?”

Networking Tip #3: Be Organized (Thank God For my iPhone & Google Docs!)

So, now things are getting interesting. Denis and I have figured out that he grew up in the same small town as my Grandma!

And my Grandma and her South Fallsburg home have been on my mind lately as she doesn’t much use it any more…I’ve been thinking that she might want to sell it.

Denis then asks me if I know what road her house is on.

I whipped out my iPhone and pulled up a Google Doc that my family had set up about my Grandma’s financial planning and I found the address of her summer cottage.

When I told Denis the street address he nearly fell out of his chair and said:

“That’s where I grew up — my dad still lives there…right across the street!”

Then Denis made my night when he added:

“And my dad has wanted to buy that property for a long time!”

The connection Denis and I experienced would not have been nearly as strong had I not had the address of my Grandma’s property on hand.

I’m not the most organized guy in the world, but I was organized enough that night.

Networking Recommendation

Try keeping addresses, phone numbers and other key information well-organized and accessible (Smart Phones are a wonderful invention as they allow you to carry a huge amount of data/information in your pocket!).

I’m also a big fan of Google Docs for keeping notes about things: it’s free and searchable.

I use Google Docs for notes on people I speak with and projects I work on. And because it sits in the cloud, it’s usually very easy for access (whether you have a Smart Phone or not) as long as you have Web access nearby.

Denis and I were able to follow up by phone the week after the concert to discuss his dad and my Grandma…and I look forward to getting to know his family better.

So, to recap our networking tips. If you focus on:

  1. Attending events you enjoy
  2. Asking fellow-attendees questions and
  3. Organizing yourself well

…you’ll become a better networker.

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