It’s not tech or digital…it’s people. People are the drivers of our careers, economic and personal wellbeing. Yes, IMHO it’s a people-driven economy, and tech is just a wonderful enabler – particularly (as we’re focused on networking) of the communication process. For me, the proliferation of apps, platforms, and tech tools is just more evidence of an ongoing need to connect—to make real human connections – to advance our careers, business interests, causes – and if we’d just do so with courtesy and more than a little considerate attention we’d see how important people really are in helping us get ahead.
So how do you add a little more courtesy and consideration into you omni-channel networking? How do you become “people” first?
Funny, more than a few people in my network had some ideas when I asked them the question “What Is Networking Courtesy?”.
Networking Courtesy Is…
Listening. Ask meaningful questions and listen with sincerity. People will respond in ways that lead to deep and lasting relationships. – Irene Ryabaya, Co-Founder of Monarq Incubator @IreneRyab @SocialMonarq
Having realistic expectations with your asks. Aiming high is fine, but recognize probabilities and show appreciation for the support you do get. – Jill Van Beke, Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Launch Tennessee @jvanbeke
Ask people before you introduce or refer them to others; make sure both people are OK with it. You have to protect your network. Sometimes that means letting the friend who asked for the connection know the timing isn’t right for the other party. You don’t want to be remembered as the person who sent the nuisance. - Katherine Hollar Barnard, Chief Executive Officer, Firesign | Enlightened Legal Marketing @katiehollar
The second follow up, because I may have missed the first! Don’t just assume you’re being ignored, a second follow up is permissible (and courteous). – Jessica Sobhraj, CEO at Cosynd @JessicaSobhraj
Following-up with a thank you when someone does something nice. Email works but if you really want to stand out consider sending a handwritten note on real paper via snail mail. It’s so retro that it works. – Joanne Tombrakos, Founder at One Woman’s Eye Consulting and Training @joannetombrakos
Giving more than you receive, and lift others’ ideas through your connections. And if/when you’re going to ask someone for an introduction, be sure it’s an important one. – Danielle Cohn, Executive Director, Entrepreneurial Engagement, Comcast NBCUniversal @daniellecohn
I always make a point of introducing myself when I approach people at networking events. Even if we have met before I always say my name and remind them where we previously met. It helps relieve that awkward feeling for them if they can’t place my name or face immediately. – Lisa Cashmore, Director, Network Operations, Canadian Digital Media Network @LisaCashmore
Honoring the relationship by staying connected and checking in, and not just passing them over to any ol’ body. Always get permission before making an introduction or recommending. Whenever possible, if you’re connecting two people, give them an overview of one another AND be clear why you are introducing them (don’t send them in blind because you feel their are synergies). WHY do you feel there are synergies. The more info they have, the more productive their meeting or conversation will be. – Adrienne Graham, Founder of Mogul Chix @talentdiva