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Caption: Nathan Gold.
Silicon Valley coach Nathan Gold is a networker extraordinaire with 40 years’ networking experience and 1.424 subscribers to his YouTube channel. In this article he shares his top tips for advanced networking.
“People always asking me: 'how do you network?'. I don't think that's the question to start with. I think you should start with 'why do you network?'.That said, the thing you have to keep in mind when you're out networking is you need to be prepared, because if you just go to a networking event and you're just like 'oh, let's see what happens when we get there' without having some goal in mind, without having been prepared, without knowing what to do with those network connections you're about to make, you're just kind of shooting in the dark,” explains Nathan.
Nathan sees preparation as the ‘AHA’ moment.
A is for Appearance
“The first thing you have to think about when you're meeting somebody is your approach, what do you look like,” continues Nathan. “Right before you put your hand out to shake their hand they've already made a judgment about you, and it's unfair but it's too bad, you just have to get over the fact that when people look at you they have already judged you.”
Nathan’s advice with regards to preparation is to video oneself. He explains: “If you want to know what people think of you, just take a short little video of yourself walking up to the front of a stage, put it out and ask about a 100 people tell you what's their first impression of you and then listen to all the feedback you get.”
To find those 100 people Nathan recommends using Amazon Mechanical Turk where you can ask 100 people to look at your video and you pay them $25c per answer. That way, he says, you know you’re getting non-biased feedback, so you know what people really think.
“We all have some idiosyncrasies about us,” continues Nathan. “Maybe we like to dress a certain way and that's okay, but you just have to understand that people are judging you, they're determining whether they like you or not just based on how you look. It's not fair but it's a snap judgment we all make.”
H is for Handshake
After the appearance comes the all-important handshake. “Moving to the next step in networking is when you actually shake somebody's hand. The best handshake is when you hit the other person's hand between your thumb and your forefinger. Watch your handshake, check your handshake, get feedback on your handshake and make sure it's a good one. You don't want to kill somebody's hand, you also don't want a limp fish in their hands.”
A is for Attention
“So now it’s time to actually talk to the person whose hand you’re shaking and capture their attention,” continues Nathan, according to whom the basics of being likeable and accepted are simple.
“You need to be likeable. If you're likable you'll make better connections. I found this book 'How to win friends and influence people' published in 1936, and I read it in 1972. It still applies today. I still use the principles all the time when I'm networking.”
The six tips for being likeable according to the book are:
Caption: Nathan Gold
“Most importantly, when you enter a networking situation focus on how you can help the people you’re going to connect with. You can always find something you could do to help somebody: an introduction to someone else or a tip for a good source of information. When you help someone they’re more likely to want to help you.”
Nathan also recommends following up with everyone. “I’m often amazed by the lack of follow up,” continues Nathan. “Not following up when you’ve promised to is a sure fire way to ruining a potentially beautiful contact before it’s started.”
Nathan is clear to distinguish between ‘relationship’ and ‘contact’. “Most people think that when they get all these contacts they're building relationships, but a relationship is very different from a contact. You can say you have 5,000 contacts, but how many relationships do you have?”
“To me it's not about how many people you know. Sure, you may have 3,000 connections on LinkedIn, but it's actually more about who's looking at your connections. It's more about how many people know you. “
And this is something Nathan knows from direct experience. “Six years ago, one year after I started my coaching business, I had a workshop called ‘’ and my business coach at the time advised me to make a video of the workshop and put it out for free on YouTube,” he explains.
“I thought he was crazy, as this was something I was making money from,” says Nathan,“but he told me to make money from something else. So, I did exactly what he said and now I may have 3,000 in my LinkedIn network, but almost 100,000 people have watched that video.”
Nathan stresses it doesn’t matter that he hasn’t met all those who have watched his video, because it’s not about him: “It's not about me,” he says, “it's about who knows me, who knows the information or knows about the product or service. It's not about who you know, it's about who knows you and that's your AHA moment when you approach, give the handshake and then get the attention.”.
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