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Networking 101 – Take an Interest in What People Do

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“In 1936, Dale Carnegie published – ‘How to win friends & influence people’. Since then, his book has sold more that 15 million copies and is widely credited as being the first book in the modern self-help genre.”

So says C J Hayden in his article entitled “To make more sales, try making more friends.”

But what does this actually mean?

Why is it that I, being as grumpy and as disagreeable as I am known to be, who ‘growls’ at people at every opportunity, am in the enviable position of having a great number of ‘friends’ and acquaintances, who not only like and even love me as an individual, but who also often heed my advice?

Well, I think it is because I take an interest in them and whatever it is that they do.

You see when I first meet people at a Networking event, I make sure that I contact them and set up a ‘one-on-one’ meeting with them. I do this in order to get a better understanding of what they do and what their dreams are. I take down notes and ask questions – in short, I take a genuine interest in what they do. I listen to what their needs are, what their desires are and then I connect them with the people who can meet those needs and desires.

This makes them feel good about themselves, it makes them feel that they are important to me.

Now of course, as you help someone to meet their needs and desires, what they start to feel for you is gratitude, and as you continue to build the relationship with them, that gratitude turns to respect and if you are really lucky into a genuine friendship.

Who would have thought – that it would take the simple act of ‘listening’ to the needs of a stranger – to add a new friend, to make a new contact, to sign a new deal, to find a great opportunity?