Don't be "that person"
You get an invitation on one of the popular business networking sites. You look at the profile and see the similarities and common connections, so you accept. With almost automated precision, you then get a message explaining all about the other person, what they do and what their company does. It is totally focused on them. There's no warmup or soft intro — just right to the heavy sales message. Disappointing.
Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development, RAB
One of the greatest benefits of our RAB live training events like our Radio Sales Essentials one-day class and our Leadership MasterClass is the ability to connect with like-minded people in other markets who have a shared experience. The organic networking that emerges from these events is based on a common desire to help each other, which is how all networking should be.
If you search online for "networking tips" there are plenty of resources. We'd like to share a few things to keep in mind as you build your professional network. Paying attention to these tips will help you avoid being "that person" who connects and launches into a pitch.
Give before you take — Instead of launching into a pitch, search your new contacts page and look for areas of interest. Similar to prospecting, find an article or a resource you think might be helpful and send that to them as your introduction.
Don't just collect connections — Your goal is not the quantity of your connections, but the quality. You want connections you can help and connections that can help you. Target your connections based on a common purpose, common interests and align yourself with those you might be able to help.
Be genuinely interested — Faking interest here is easily detected. Be genuine; be real and be interested and interesting.
Follow up — Making the initial connection is great, but unless you're just after quantity, consistent follow-up and sharing resources, asking thoughtful questions and engaging your new connections are key to maintaining those connections.
From our RAB live events and the networking that happens as a result, the greatest joy is to see people help each other through shared difficulty and celebrate shared success. We are wired for connection and interaction, and even more now having experienced isolation during COVID-19. We crave the ability to connect, collaborate and share.
By giving before you take and showing genuine interest in the other person, you will avoid being "that person," and you will enjoy making new connections and others will enjoy connecting with you. Do you have some networking annoyances or tips that you'd like to share? We'd love to hear them. Email me at Jeff.Schmidt@rab.com.
Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at jeff.Schmidt@Rab.com or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.