Brian Honigman is a marketing consultant, freelance writer and professional speaker. He works with both startups and brands like Sumall, Dell, Adknowledge and others focused on marketing, business and technology. He’s spoken at NYU, UNICEF, Huffington Post Live, the American Advertising Federation and for other organizations and conferences. He is a contributing writer to the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, the Huffington Post, Forbes, the Next Web, Mashable and others. Follow him on Twitter @BrianHonigman.
Recently, YEC spoke with Brian about his experiences networking, and his advice for others aspiring to improve their own experience. His best advice is below.
One time I networked with another marketer to get drinks. Afterwards we stayed in touch, and we continue to send each other clients, referrals, press opportunities and more. She really helped take my business to another level and vice versa, which I wouldn’t have guessed from having a few drinks with her a year or two ago. Consistently provide value to others and you’ll be able to drive results from your relationships.
Understand Your Value
To begin building a network that drives results for your career and ongoing happiness, understand what value you can provide to others. When meeting other professionals for the first time, it’s important to understand their goals and how you can help them reach them. This way you are positioning yourself as an asset to them for the future, which in the long term will help benefit you as well. Take a minute and really think about your strengths and you can apply them to help benefit your future network of contacts.
Openness is an essential quality for any networker. To network effectively you must be open to meeting people with all different backgrounds, experience levels, types of personalities and agendas. By having this quality you’ll be able to meet a greater variety of professionals that can help foster your growth throughout your career.
Use Meetup for In-Person Events
I think Meetup is a great tool for finding quality events where you live. Just be open to visiting a few different Meetup groups to find the one that are most relevant to your needs. I like Startup Grind as well for meeting other well-balanced entrepreneurs, which is an event that happens in over 100 cities.
The tools I use the most for networking would have to be a healthy combination of Twitter, LinkedIn, Boomerang for Gmail, Nimble and the Sunrise Calendar app. Each of these tools allow me to maintain existing relationships online, while reaching out to new contacts.
Show Them Value
Start by focusing on a common interest as a jumping-off point, and then from there go out of your way to show them value by giving them an intro to another professional, interviewing them, writing about their work and more. You should avoid asking another entrepreneur for a favor when first meeting them online or in person. I’ve made this mistake before and it’s terrible. Never start a conversation with someone you’re networking with by asking them for something.
…But Avoid This Common Faux Pas
The worst networking faux pas is talking about yourself too much. I can’t stress how boring this is for the other person you’re networking with and how bad this makes you look to others. You should approach any networking situation as a buyer of information by trying to gain as much essential information about the other person you’re networking with to ensure you understand who they are and what motivates them.