Networking is a vital component for the growth of any business or career. Building and nurturing a strong professional network can lead to new opportunities, partnerships, and collaborations. One reason networking is so important is we like to do business with those we know and trust.
“LRT” is an acronym that I use for Like, Respect, and Trust. I think that you must give it before you can get it.
LRT = Like + Respect + Trust
How can you be liked? You simply need to be likable, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” applies very well in this case. I have had the good fortune of knowing many people from all walks of life, nationalities, gender, religion, and professions. I always seem to gravitate to people I like.
It may seem obvious, but I know of many people who seem to be drawn to controlling, grumpy, or rude people. I am not exactly sure why, but they are. And I hope they may feel the same way! The more people I spend time with that are likable, the more I want to hang out with them.
Respectful Equals Respected
We all need to be respectful! Respect is earned over a period of time, but it can also be given immediately. Show respect before expecting it in return. If you want to be respected, be respectful every time you interact with someone… it’s one of my life principles.
Be patient and allow it to happen over time. There is no time clock or deadline required when it comes to building meaningful relationships!
Trusting Equals Trusted
How can you be trusted? What does trust look like to you? Do you keep your word? I know many people who do keep their word… and some who don’t. Are you someone that others can count on when needed? Do you do what you said you would?
Trust is the backbone of any personal or professional relationship that is for keeps. Without it, you don’t have a meaningful relationship.
“Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.” —Isaac Watts
Author John Maxwell has three principles for building relationships:
- Connect: Connecting is all about others. As Maxwell stated in his book: “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect”. When you are trying to connect with people, it’s not about you—it’s about them. If you want to connect with others, you have to get over yourself.
- Act with intention: In every interaction, you have with people, you should ideally act with the intent of building a more meaningful relationship. This may occur at your place of work, the dry cleaner, the grocery store, or at home. Being aware of your intentions helps you in all situations. Think about your intentions the next time you interact with someone.
- Be genuine: The more genuine and natural you are in connecting and speaking with others, the easier it will be to build meaningful, positive relationships with people of all backgrounds, professions, and titles.
If you’re like me and you truly value people, and you want to build relationships for keeps, it takes effort, practice, and focus. The above tips can work for you in all situations and all locations where you interact with people.
Learn more about Effective Networking for Business Professionals.
Networking for growth tips:
- Attend events within your industry, conferences, and trade shows where you can meet new people and build relationships. Take advantage of the opportunity to network with other professionals in your field.
- Join professional groups and organizations related to your industry. These groups often hold meetings and seminars where you can network with other members.
- Use social media platforms, like LinkedIn, to connect with other professionals in your field. Share your knowledge, expertise, and insights to engage with others. Stay consistent and you will get noticed.
- Volunteer for events or causes related to your industry so you can not only give back but meet new people and build relationships.
- After meeting someone, follow up with a message or email to thank them for their time and to stay in touch. Keeping in touch with your network is key to maintaining relationships and staying top of mind.
Network effectively takes consistent effort and is about quality of relationships, not quantity. One cannot stay in touch with a large group of new people, and to build LRT, one must take the time to get to know others and show a genuine interest. This will also yield invitations, and referrals.
It is surprising how many outgoing business professionals are not comfortable with networking. Learn to “work the room” as the expression goes and be sure not to stand still too long. We often gravitate to those we know best, and that is fine for a quick hello and how are you but remind yourself if you are at an event for the purpose of networking, you must find someone new to introduce yourself to. Listen more than you speak, and ask questions that others find easy to answer. Maintain eye contact, and always have business cards handy. Have a goal of how many new people you may want to meet and keep that goal realistic. It is better to connect with three new people, than spend a short time with ten and not recall their name the following day.
Networking is not just about making connections, but about building relationships. It takes time and effort to build a strong network, and the benefits are well worth it in the long run. Compare networking effectively like planting seeds. A seed that is cared for, watered, and given the right environment eventually blooms into a plant, or group of plants. That can eventually become your network!
To learn more about networking and relationships, download this free e-Book!