Punch Above Your Weight

Mostly people are quite sociable creatures and as we spend time with various people we will sometimes pick up their traits and mannerisms. That annoying catchphrase that your boisterous friend says a lot may find itself into your vocabulary, which you didn’t intend but his or her personality might be quite strong and you just can’t help it. The influence cannot be undone! This can happen in business too: you can osmose attitude, work ethic and process from those who are successful so you need to start punching above your weight in networing to raise the bar and stretch yourself over time.

The real question here is: how can you start networking to those who are more successful than you so you can ‘move up the ladder’ as it were. Here are a few suggestions that can help achieve growing in your networking.

Be Where the Success is Happening
See where the more successful people are: determine where they can be found and jump straight in! In our careers we are all in different places so it’s a good place to start by evaluating where you are so you can see what punching above your weight looks like. Obviously the Newton Abbot Chamber of Commerce is a great place to meet different businesses in different stages of networking. Some may even be looking at you so they ‘network up’. Maybe consider charitable organisations’ events so you can meet and connect with successful business people.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable
Possibly if you’re comfortable with those you are talking to you’re not getting stretched. The idea of the comfort zone is where it’s easy and there isn’t any growth, it might be warm and cosy but it isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need to aim higher: sometimes it means taking a deep breath and diving in. If you’re not comfortable, it might be a good sign this is the right person to talk to.

Hold Back the Sale
As we have said many, many times with networking that relationship is key to seeing a lasting fruitful connection. Don’t go and sell to them but find out about them, be focused on the long-term and stand out from the crowd by being a ‘human being’ and not a ‘human selling!’ Stay the sales pitch and show to your up-networking ‘target’ that you can add value to them rather than just going for their money.

Don’t be a Whiner
First impressions are lasting, not always forever but if someone sees you for the first time what are they going to see and hear? Are they going to experience positivity or are you going to be a negative complainer who rants?. You may be having a bad day, but don’t let that effect your attitude. Remember, if your more successful business person is going to see value in you and what you can bring them, you need to cut out the bad and promote the good. Be remembered for good stuff, not bad.

Be Courteous not Creepy
Most people in the world like those who recognise what they have contributed and achieved but only the arrogant like it when you compliment them to within an inch of their life! Even the most successful people in the world are still human beings and would appreciate to hear how they have inspired or helped you with your story; but to dwell on it to the point of you appearing to butter them up won’t get you anywhere. Don’t make conversation all about how you feel but talk person to person.

A Reason for Connecting
Randomly attacking your ‘victim’ isn’t going to put you in the best light, try to link your conversation in with what’s going on around you whether it be at a charity event or a lunch. It just makes sense to use the ‘tools’ that are around you and not to go in cold.

If you can know a bit about them that can help you connect with them but for them to be comfortable with you. Just remember when using the fantastic tools of the internet with LinkedIn, Facebook etc. that there’s a difference between research and over-stepping the mark! Talk to them about their latest projects, ask them open questions that can lead you to learning more about them and the successes they’ve achieved.

Be Valuable
Like we’ve said before, if you become valuable to them then you will certainly be remembered. Maybe even use their latest project as an opportunity to work together and see where you can add something to them and their business. This may take a bit of thought but make sure that you stand out in a good way.

Never Assume
If you’ve met the person before and you want to connect with them again never assume that they would remember you, especially if they are particularly successful as they probably meet hundreds of people all the time at different events, some wanting things from them. Sometimes you may need to jog their memory of the event you were both at or the thing you’ve discussed there; a good tip is if communicating by email that you send a photo of the two of you from the event (that’s a great reminder).

Who’s Number One?
A good rule of thumb is that if you find youself continually being the most successful person in the room, then you’re probably not growing in your networking and need a ‘bigger pond’. See the first point again and find a new place to meet and network.

Have a think about these ideas and see how you begin or continue punching about your weight.

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