Tuesday 9 February 2010

Effective networking - Making contact

You are extremely unlikely to get a refusal from personal referrals and although the chance increases with the others, if your networking calls are thoroughly prepared and carried out, then you are likely to get very few. You have to be prepared just in case you do and in that event, the first thing to remember is not to take it personally, since you do not know the reason, but it is unlikely to have anything to do with you as an individual. The second is that there are not many people who react like that, so do not waste any more time or energy on that one, but pass swiftly on to the next.

The three ways of making contact are by personal meeting, telephone or letter. Meetings are by far the most effective method of contact.

Primary contacts

For your primary contacts, deciding which method to use is not difficult because you know them even if you have not been in touch for some time. Even so, it is worth spending some time in preparation. If you telephone someone who you have not contacted for some years and the response is something like "That's interesting, so you will be available soon, give me an update, what have you been doing since we last met?" Then you will need to have considered your response careful ly beforehand.

Clearly, you cannot have a full set of answers to all the possible questions, but you can be prepared. For your primary contacts you need to have ready the following:

• Introductory sentences [short to re-establish contact. These will vary based upon your knowledge of the person.

• Reason for contact. You are, or will be, seeking their advice about your plans and direction.

• A statement of what you have done since you last met just in case it is needed.

• Details of your role or business.

• The areas or industries in which you are particularly interested. Make sure you have a clear focus, Presenting too many options will just confuse them.

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