What is it about kings and queens that attract people to them? Could it be their crowns? Their great wealth? Or maybe it is simply their idyllic lifestyles that we commoners can only dream of. Unless there is an abdication and you’re invited to fill in, your chances of assuming the royal throne are zero. The throne may be out, but the influence royalty has over their subjects is something you can have too with the people you are with. You can network like royalty and build a following that rivals the most prominent people in the world. Read on and I will show you how.
1. Beef up your business card. What does your business card say about you? Yes, your name is prominently listed on it as is your phone number, email address and other contact information. A pretty logo may be the eye-catcher there too with some information about what you do.
There is one section of your business card that is not complete. And that would be its reverse side. Yes, your card is two-sided and that white space on the back is useful. On the back side of your card you can list a calendar of events, share some tips or even provide a lined area for note scribbling. Give people more information about you then they might expect — they’ll equate you with being someone important…maybe even a king!
2. Attend industry events. You may work from home and spend much time sitting on your throne. Your chair that is. Trouble is, face to face time with real people is critically important too. You cannot do this if you never leave your home office or your business office.
Get out your calendar and start freeing up some time to take in key industry events. You know what those events are — where movers and shakers in your industry gather to meet, greet and share business ideas. Help people make a connection with your online self and you’ll do likewise with them. Attend local seminars, meetings, industry conferences and parties. Hand out your business cards and get plenty in return.
3. Build relationships. In the Bible, King David was a shepherd boy who was called to be king. He was the least of his seven brothers, what we would call a commoner today. The prophet Samuel followed God’s order and anointed him king, but he still needed to serve the then current king, Saul, before he assumed the throne.
Just as David learned to serve his people, you can serve those whom you meet too. This means having an attitude of approachability, a person known to help others succeed with little thought of their own success. Build a reputation of being a giver and soon people will realize what you really are — a leader.
4. Keep in touch. If you view people you meet as your subjects, they’ll think that you’re a snob. Value each person in your network and follow up with them. You received their business card, now send a brief email message and thank them for meeting you. Keep your messages personal or pick up the phone and just place a call.
Make a point to visit blogs and websites of people that you meet. If you find an article that is interesting, leave a well thought out comment behind. Connect on Twitter and LinkedIn, share news of interest to them and value their relationship by following up again in the near future. Show enthusiasm, genuine concern and be available to help out as needed. It can be exhausting staying in touch, but hey, you are royalty and your people support you.
5. Prepare for the next event. You just came back from one event and you know of another one that will be held in the near future. If you write a newsletter, mention to your readers that you will be at that event and look forward to connecting with them if they attend. You’ve just signaled your interest in meeting with your followers and can expect to see some people you know at your upcoming event.
Use your follow up connection time to update yourself about each person. You may discover that some have changed employers, others are looking for work while still others may have a gig for you. Be a student of theirs too by keeping up what is happening in their world including announcements they’ve made on Twitter, on their website or blog or in their own newsletter. This method is a great conversation starter and relationship builder.
Of course if interact with people and you come across as a royal pain in the butt, don’t expect anyone to offer you much respect. The kingly part of networking is not bragging about who you are, rather it is all about what you can do for people. Gain their respect and they’ll “crown” you as a helpful individual, one worthy of connecting with and giving you their business.
Richard Larson is Brand Manager at Go Promotional, the UK’s premiere online supplier of promotional gifts and printed mugs.