Successful Networking


Barry Maher’s

Filling the Glass Newsletter
Speaking of Real World Tactics,
Reality-Based Motivation

December, 2014    Vol. 14  Issue 12


In this Issue:

 Article: Networking Events Don’t Have to Be Awful. Really, They Don’t.
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Hi Everyone:

Welcome to our new website, almost a year in the making.  This month’s article is about dealing with networking events, something I’m asked about frequently, something that many people find intimidating. So we’re offering a few simple tips that seem to work surprisingly well.

And as always, I’d like to invite you to connect with me at:

All the Best,



Networking Events Don’t Have to Be Awful. Really, They Don’t.

by Barry Maher


“I keep hearing that I should be attending more networking events to help build my business,” a middle-aged businessman said to me after a presentation the other day.

“And that doesn’t fill you with delight?” I guessed.

He shrugged. “The problem is that I run a plumbing business. I’m not a salesperson. I’m not a politician who knows how to work a room. I absolutely hate networking. Hate it. To me, it’s almost degrading. I feel like I’m begging perfect strangers to help me get business. I know it works for some people, but to me it’s a lot more distasteful than anything I ever had to deal with as a plumber. And that’s saying something, believe me. Is there any way I can get more comfortable with this kind of thing?”

“Maybe,” I said. “The best way I know to get comfortable is to work on making the other person comfortable.”
When I’m at a networking event myself, I’ll usually start out by approaching the most uncomfortable looking person available. I introduce myself, and often I ask, “Do you find these things as awkward as I do?”

That’s a great question because it takes the pressure off them and off you as well. Since they’re probably as shy as you are, it also shows confidence that you could even make that admission.

Networking gets a lot easier once you realize that it’s not about you, it’s about the person you’re talking to. The secret of effective networking is that it’s all about asking questions and learning about those you’re trying to connect with.

Most people:

1)      Talk too much;

2)      Listen too little;

3)      Ask for the other person’s help much too soon.

Again, networking is not about you, It’s about finding out about the other person, perhaps even uncovering what you can do for them. In other words, it’s about building some sort of relationship—even if it’s a quick and very short-term relationship—before trying to find out what they might be able to do you. Without that relationship, you’re not networking, you’re cold calling, and there’s no more reason for that person to help you than any other stranger they might come across on the street.

This is just one more case where if you concentrate on the what’s-in-it-for-them the what’s-in-it-for you will usually take care of itself.

Usually. Not always. But usually is usually enough.


© Copyright 2014 Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada; Los Angeles, California.


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