Networking Basics: Be on Time to Your Business Networking Group

Being on time is a very simple thing to do and yet it is very simple not to do.  Over the years I have been in many different types of networking groups for a variety of companies and projects.  There is something about the message being sent out by the members that are consistently arriving late or leaving early.  Business networking is very similar to dating in that first impressions make big difference.  If you are consistently late at a networking event it leads people to believe you may be late to all of your meetings.

Does being late really make a difference in your business networking success?  I know for me when I see this in a networking group like BNI, LeTip, or a weekly chamber of commerce group I am less likely to give the habitual late person a referral.  The reason is each referral is really an extension of me and my reputation.  If I refer my best client or referral source to a member who in turn is late meeting with my contact this reflects negatively on me.  My personal network is far more important to me than just giving someone a referral!

If you are habitually late and want to know simple ways to change your pattern read this great article, 5 ways to stop being late by Penelope Trunk.

So the next time you are getting ready for your business networking event or BNI meeting, maybe you should skip responding to that email which just showed up in your inbox and instead arrive 10 minutes early to your meeting (on time).

Networking: New Clients, Prospects, Referrals, and Lifelong Friends

Friday night I spent some time at a good friend’s house. My friend is turning 50 today and I have been tasked with keeping him out of the house while his wife gets things ready for a small gathering of friends. Still not sure what I am going to do for three hours but I am confident we can figure out something!

This morning I was thinking about where this friendship started. We first met through a networking group called LeTip. Each week we saw each other for a few hours and then would go on to the rest of our day. Early on we chatted and he let me know someone he knew represented my company and if he decided to use my service he would use them. I mention this because I really had written this person off in regards to networking. I was still nice, talked to him, and looked for ways to refer him, but I had zero expectations of ever receiving referrals or business from him.

Networking for me is not about what I can get from someone, it is about what I can give. Each time you give someone a referral, help someone through a business challenge, or connect two contacts together without expecting anything in return you are giving. Ivan Misner the founder of BNI often talks about this with his givers gain philosophy. The theory here is if you are always looking for ways to support your network then in turn your network will support you with business, contacts, and referrals. Ivan also talks about this in his new book The 29% Solution, 52 Weekly Networking Success Strategies in week 5 and has a recent article about the book on his Networking Now blog on entrepreneur.com.

I really live this givers gain philosophy in all areas of my life. So many examples of wonderful things coming to me when I have least expected it. One of them is the lifelong friend who I have the pleasure in celebrating his life and birthday today.