Everyone knows networking is important, but not everyone knows what this means and how to do it right. This isn’t the case for Mark Jeffries.
The communications consultant, presentation coach and professional keynote speaker is an expert on the topic, with a list of credits including authoring the book, “What’s up with your handshake?”
Jeffries provided a step-by-step strategy he calls the “three r’s of networking” during his welcome speech as the host of the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series in Las Vegas this year.
He re-capped his points for Computerworld Canada after the event.
The 3 r’s of networking
“Because your network is your personal brand, the amount of people who know who you are and know what it is you do, it is very important to have that network growing and being fed and being nurtured. So what you need to do all the time is keep adding people to the network,” said Jeffries.
According to Jeffries, “One great way of doing this is with the three r’s of networking … radar, recall and reward. Here’s how it works.”
1) Radar: send an e-mail within 7 days
“When you’ve just met somebody new, someone who could be useful to your future or to your organization or indeed might want to buy your product or listen to your ideas, you must put yourself on their radar within a week of meeting them,” said Jeffries.
Jeffries suggested sending an e-mail within seven days of having made first contact and starting the e-mail with something very simple, such as “Dear (whoever it is), it was so great to meet you at (insert event name here).”
“There’s your first r – radar,’ he said.
2) Recall: look for an emotional connection
“It’s very important when you are speaking to people, that you listen to what they say, but really listen, because at some point, they‘ll give away something – something they need or something they really like. So listen out for what I call the ‘emotion connection’ – what do they really like,” said Jeffries.
If the person mentioned they like sushi restaurants, for example, adjust your e-mail to read: “Dear John, it was great to meet you at that event. I remembered (there’s the r – recall) that you really like sushi restaurants, so I’m attaching a link for you (and here comes the third r).”
3) Reward: include a useful link
“You are sending them a link that can be of some use to them. You’re not selling your business, you’re not selling your ideas, what you are doing is you’re giving them a reward – there’s the third r,” said Jeffries.
Using his sushi example, Jeffries suggested adding the note, “Here’s a link to sushi restaurants opening up in your area. I thought you might find it useful.”
“By delivering those three r’s – which are radar, recall and reward – you instantly get a new contact. At the very least, you get a reply. At the very most, you have someone who can really add to your future success,” said Jeffries.
Soft skills and IT
Jeffries addressed a conference hall filled with senior executives. But with soft skills and business know-how becoming increasingly important to IT roles, the strategy is just as valuable in the IT department.
“All networking and communications skills are absolutely vital to people in any industry, but especially in IT, because in IT we have great ideas, we have amazing solutions and we need to tell people about them,” said Jeffries.
“The solution could be the best one in the world, but if we don’t have a great network to spread the news across and if we don’t have the right words to sell the idea behind the solution, then no one’s going to buy it – and in the end, whether we like it or we don’t, we are all selling something,” he said.