11 The ins and outs of business networking with Dave Delaney
Dave Delaney is an author, consultant, and keynote speaker on digital marketing, social media strategy, and business networking. He also has a book out called New Business Networking, which explores online and off-line tools, tips, and techniques to grow your professional network, your business, and your career.
So does new networking mean that we throw out the rules and traditions of the old way of networking? Not necessarily, says Dave. Online networking and social media can be excellent tools to market content and to build connections with people, but the value in face-to-face networking and building community has not changed with technology.We live in the wonderful time where we have fantastic tools for researching. We can research people and companies before we go and meet them in person. We also have lots of opportunities to get oriented and get our foot in the door in the first place.
Dave’s fascination with the earliest forms of online communication (he even used to run a bulletin board system on his Commodore as a kid) and his love for bringing people together encouraged him to develop an event called the Geek Breakfast. He also has put on a handful of conferences in Nashville, events run by the community for the community. He has really mastered bringing people together in every way to share ideas and network.
The tools for connecting us are a means to an end for Dave, because the whole idea of connecting like-minded people in the first place and bringing them together really appeals to him. Many of us have a bad association with the idea of networking. We might even imagine that as a high-pressure speed-dating situation. In reality, networking is a way to meet kindred spirits and to offer to help one another. It is about building a community that makes what we do easier for us, and is able to be there for us when we need it. The main pay off of networking and putting in the effort to build up a community of people is that you always have the opportunity to reach out and ask for a resource or for advice.Within our contacts lies a treasure of opportunities, and if you’re willing to research to find which companies and people can help you, those opportunities become within your reach. Dave tells an incredible story of how, as an employee of Griffin technologies, he used social networking to connect to an employee of Evernote in order to take a product to the next level.
Dave explains how to:
- Integrate modern networking tools with the traditional ways of business networking.
- Mine for beneficial contacts within your network when you need some assistance looking for job, a client, or getting some advice to advance your business.
- Do the right thing at a live event, the importance of listening and introducing yourself, and the value of talking to the other person standing off to the side.
- Pay attention to the interests of others and your interactions with them, so you can use interesting information to build relationships and connect further.
Although it can be overwhelming to take the first step in building your network, Dave says there is not much more to it than putting yourself out there. It is possible that there are local events and local companies that sponsor them. These events can be the perfect opportunity to just do a little research, and head out to meet people in person. This is always the best approach, as people at these events are open to meeting others and are looking to network as well. It is beneficial to look around, to introduce yourself to people who were just standing there, but also listen to conversations taking place. You could learn a lot just by listening and being there.On social networks, reaching out to someone can go along way as well. On Facebook or Twitter, for example, you can search and find employees of companies you have interest in and start a relationship with them. You can also search people by what you have in common and what you professionally engage in. Humor goes a long way, and your personality translates even online. It is also reflective of the personality of your business, your values, and the humanity behind what you do.
Is business networking making your head spin? Dave Delaney to the rescue with his networking wisdom. [TWEET THIS]
To Dave, follow-up and building are at the core of successful networking. Paying attention to the interests of others and to past conversations gives you an opportunity to reach out to someone when you see an interesting article, or something that is relevant to them. This is a great way to build a relationship and strengthen connections. At the end of the day, Dave reminds us, there is still a human at the end of the other line, and there are still decision-makers who are behind using your products or services.Dave’s priority is always to advise his clients to do what is relevant and natural to them. It is not always necessary to do everything simultaneously. One doesn’t have to use all of the social media networks, one doesn’t necessarily have to have a blog or other tools which are just not necessary for everybody. The goal is to create a useful and sustainable system for marketing and networking. After all, a tool is only as effective as how often you use it!
Dave can be found on daveadelaney.com