• Road to riches

    Taxpayers keep funding structures with big plans but who knows what efficacy, says Mandi Smallhorne.

  • Don't fall for Ponzi scams

    An expert unpacks the tell-tale signs to watch out for.

  • Inside Labour

    A smokescreen of misleading rhetoric won't make SA's problems go away, says Terry Bell.

All data is delayed
See More

Six habits of highly effective networkers

Dec 27 2012 07:58 *Karl Smith

Related Articles

Give your business the life it deserves

Building a business from scratch

Policy payout: what should I do?

Reality check for business owners

Surviving the first 3 to 5 years

Funding frustration

NETWORKING is an essential skill for most business people, but especially for entrepreneurs.

By becoming an established and regular networker, you can propel your business onto the radar of other companies and industry figures.

Smith says this will allow you to build mutually beneficial relationships, not only with other companies in your field, but also with suppliers or potential clients, which in turn will help to expand your market.

Yes, you got me! Networking is building mutually beneficial relationships ... nothing less, nothing more. A successful network connection requires a mutual understanding from the start that it is about "what I can do for you" as much as it is about "what you can do for me". 

Those connections and the support required to maintain them, are the necessary ingredients for developing a solid network.

Here are six habits that successful networkers live by:

Define your networking goals.

Collecting a massive stack of business cards is not an end in itself - it's a waste of time (yours and the people you are collecting cards from). There needs to be a purpose behind every networking opportunity. Are you looking for clients, staff/skills, investors or work?

Seek first to understand before being understood.

Listen generously. Always wait a second after a person finishes speaking before you speak.

Be fully present.

Be fully engaged and fully aware of the people you interact with. Many people only seem to be "half there", so being fully engaged helps you to stand out.

Be yourself.

When you’re meeting people, be authentic. That means demonstrating care and concern by keeping it real.

Make yourself useful.

Attempt to help others before you ask for help yourself. You may have an idea which could benefit someone. Sometimes helping others can be as simple as recommending a book to them. If you are perceived as a helpful person, more and more people will want to do business with you.

Don’t waste contact information.

Why take someone’s card if you are not going to follow up? A simple e-mail saying “I really enjoyed our conversation…” will do. But why not take it a step further, state your purpose and ask for a brief follow-up meeting?

Finally, a relationship requires time to build, and more importantly, it requires integrity, credibility and trust.

The good news is that we can acquire this vital business competency by getting the right knowledge, the right attitude and plenty of practice to become good at it.

*Karl Smith, is the founder of Business Networking South Africa. This article was first published in the Sanlam Business Tips newsletter.

*Share your experience of setting up your own business, or simply ask a question. Our business panel can put you on the right path.


Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.


Sales made simple

2014-11-04 12:52


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:


Johannesburg has been selected to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2017. "[The congress] will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders, the Small Business Development minister said.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

People who fall victim to Ponzi scams are:

Previous results · Suggest a vote