How to Go From Good to Great (as a Networker)

I’ve been doing this networking thing for a long time and I keep hearing about people that are “great” networkers. I am often introduced to these folks and I must admit that while sometimes I am in full agreement with the pronouncement of greatness, there are times, well, I am a little more than under-whelmed.

So how do you stack up? Are you a great networker? Ask yourself these 5 simple questions and arrive at the answer yourself.

• Are you truly proactive in your networking connections or do you tend to be reactive and wait until one of your contacts asks you if you happen to know a FILL IN THE BLANK before making an introduction (i.e. needs-based connecting)?

• Do you pre-qualify the folks with whom you have been introduced before having a phone or in-person conversation? Do you frequently make assumptions that someone might not be “good for you” because they are not “logical” connectors for your type of business, or do not seemingly have access to the types of contacts that you require?

• Do you go beyond the obvious and make connections based on more “sophisticated” indicators. For example, if you know people that get most of their business introductions from a specific type of referral source, do you introduce them to each other even if they would have no other way for them to do business or network together?

• Do you make connections on a regular basis, perhaps even establishing a quantitative goal for each week?

• Do you ask the people that make introductions for you if they would like to be kept in the loop or if it would be okay to follow-up without keeping them included in the email thread? Do you say thank you?