Have you ever thought you were in someone’s crosshairs?  Like they are focussing their sights right on your forehead?  Uncomfortable, isn’t it?  Knowing someone wants something from you puts you on the back foot.  You’re quickly trying to come up with a polite way to avoid their advances and looking around the room for a friend to save you.  It’s a terrible place to be.  So why do I see so many people doing this at networking events?

Networking needs to come from the heart.  If you’re not demonstrating enough genuine concern for the person you’re talking to they’ll pick it up in a heartbeat and you’ll forever remain on the backburner.  Or maybe not on their stove at all!

People do business with other people whom they know, like and trust.  Know and like are relatively easy.  Trust is harder.  It goes to your character and competence.  Let’s break those down…

Character – this comprises your intentions and reliability.  Your intentions are reflected by how caring you are, if you’re perceived as transparent and whether or not you’re open and approachable.  Your integrity is based on your other people’s perception of your sense of honesty and fairness and whether or not you come across as authentic.

Competence – this comes from your abilities and achievements.  Your abilities refer to your expertise and experience and how you use your knowledge for the benefit of others.  Your achievements are like a scoreboard of your performance and reputation that lead to your credibility.

So next time you’re at an event, don’t put a bunny in your headlights.  Build a relationship based on your character and competence.  These are extraordinarily powerful motivators for others who are looking to engage the services of another.  Take into account the sub-points above as they relate to you and perhaps tell stories that indicate you have these qualities instead of just saying, “I’m trustworthy.”  That usually falls flat.


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From those in Heels.