The truth about networking is that (according to an article in Profit Magazine) “…most people suck at it.” What follows are business networking tips (i.e. for people who network in person at networking groups events), but you can apply those as well to social networking (for people who spend a lot of time on networking sites).

The purpose of these tips is to help you reduce your chances of “sucking at networking”. That is one simple, easy way to beat your competition. In our town (of nearly one million people), we used to be known as the king and queen of networking. That’s because Laurel (my wife and business partner) and I used to attend on average 25 networking events per month, and we gave very popular live workshops on professional networking.

Now that we are Internet Marketing Advisors, we only do 3-4 events a month, and we have replaced our live workshops with webinars, teleclasses and eReports. All that to say that the tips I share below are based on a whole lot of hands-on experience and observations.

I’ll start with 3 BizzBlockers. What I call “BizzBlockers” are things people do that stunt the growth of their business. If you’re doing any of those, please stop. You could really be hurting your personal and business image if you keep doing that.

1-Don’t seek free advice.
Cornering doctors to ask about physical symptoms, lawyers to ask about estate planning, computer systems consultants to get detailed advice on setting up a computer system… People will avoid you if you get that reputation, be it offline or online!

2-Don’t give unsolicited advice.
Avoid saying, “Why don’t you ...?” Or even worse, “You should ... ,” or “You should have...” Please, follow Rita Davenport’s advice, and “Don’t should on people!”

To understand and appreciate this request, I ask you to observe your own experiences. Have you ever been in a situation where you asked someone for a solution to a problem and they started with the words, “You know what you should do…?” Did you feel resentful or annoyed, even though you asked for help? If you did, it’s probably because you didn’t feel involved and your own uniqueness and knowledge was not being acknowledged. It’s the same for most people.

And refrain from giving unsolicited advice. If they want your opinion or guidance, they’ll ask you for it. If they don’t ask, zip it up!

3-Don’t argue with your new acquaintances.
Most of us are not either fighters or pacifists. We fall into the middle range. Just occasionally, we’re tempted to disagree with people or – especially if we know we’re right – to point out their mistakes. Don’t do it! Remember: people dislike those who disagree with them, and they don’t like being disagreed with. And remember that no one wins arguments or friends by arguing.

In regards to this, Dave Barry admitted, “I argue very well. People know this and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me.” Keep in mind that: “Discussion is an exchange of knowledge, while argument is an exchange of ignorance.”

Now that we’ve got the negative out of the way, let’s look at three positive things you can do that will help you grow / boost / build your business. I call those BizzBuilders:

1-Be positive.
Be the bearer of good news, show support, be encouraging. And avoid negative statements. They drag down so many conversations. “Things never work out for me ... People always let me down ... Of course it won’t work ...” These are sure conversation-stoppers – especially if you’re chatting with upbeat people. You’ll find they’ll drift away rather than talk to you for too long. Think positively. Speak positively. That way you attract positive people, and everyone feels better!

When we are talking, people look at our face. Our predominant feature is our smile. This important feature of our physiognomy shows quickly whether we are excited, enthused, angry, serious, bored, or happy.

Once asked to explain his extraordinary global appeal, Louis Armstrong replied, “A note’s a note in any language.” If you remember his smiling face, he could very well have crafted the following words said by Beverly Lipton: “There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all.”

Here are two more brilliant observations from two very successful businesspeople – James Maduk and Denis Waitley – who are also master networkers:

“Smiling is a ‘selling’ tool: put a smile on your face when you make your next sales call. When you are on the phone with a new prospect or servicing an existing client, SMILE! Like a breath of fresh air a smile immediately grabs the attention of those around you.”

“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.”

3-Put quality before quantity.
Yes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and who knows you. Hence, the more ‘who’ in your network, the better. I agree, but you don’t have to meet them all at one function.

It really irks me when I hear recommendations like, “Make a point of talking to at least five people you don’t know at any gathering.” Or, “Limit each networking experience to 5 to 7 minutes. Find out if they’ve got what you need, and move on.” And these recommendations come from networking experts! Yuck!

Please, DON’T follow these suggestions! Successful networking comes from GARDENING, not gathering, not hunting. It’s about making “quality” contacts – aka “planting seeds” – and cultivating relationships. Period.

Coming back to the comment made by the editor of Profit Magazine, my observation has been that people who “suck at it” are people who, among other boo-boos, practice the 3 BizzBlockers listed above. Avoid doing those actions, practice the 3 BizzBuilders, and you will never be accused of “sucking at it.”

I hope the “knowledge” you gleaned from this article will be helpful. Remember though that knowledge is power ONLY when it’s combined with ACTION! If you think the BizzBlockers above are valuable, DO something with them, and seek out more of them.

I wish you ALL the business success you desire and deserve. Remember that the success you desire is function of your ambition, but the success you deserve is function of your ACTION!

Daniel G. St-Jean
BizzBooster, and The Sparkplug of Personal Development
Author of 7 Simple Keys To Spark Change In Your Life Now!
Co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life – volume 2

Author's Bio: 

Daniel G. St-Jean is half of The BizzBoosters Inc. He and his partner Laurel Simmons have produced a powerful new Special Report entitled Discover How You Can Easily Avoid the Biggest Marketing Mistake
Made by 97% of Businesspeople—Even Gurus—That’s Costing Them Thousands of Customers and Millions in Sales! Go get your complimentary copy NOW at