Before we get to the third step in Successful Networking for writers, let’s review steps one and two. The first step was to Listen. I was reminded of this recently while I doing some volunteer work. A writer came up, introduced himself and talked about his book. During the “conversation,” he mentioned what a great listener he was, then proceeded to talk and talk over anyone who tried to get a word in edgewise.
By the time my shift was over and I gathered my stuff to leave, I knew quite a bit about him, his job over the last twenty years, etc. He knew nothing about me. He didn’t ask what I did. I doubt he even remembered my first name. He hadn’t “met” me. He’d failed in that second step of getting to know the other person.
If he’d “met” me and gotten to know me, he might have not only gained a reader, he might have learned something about me that he would need in the future. Maybe I’m knowledgeable in some area he’s researching for another book. Gaining a reader entails not just talking about yourself and your book, but getting to know that other person a little, whether you have two minutes with them or twenty.
But let’s say, you’re not like that guy I met. You listened, you connected. You enticed me to go look at your book. Maybe you even discovered something about me that you found interesting. This brings us to Step Three in Successful Networking:
Keep Track of Your Encounters
The guy in my example didn’t even bother to give me his card or ask for mine. When you’re networking, if possible, get the other person’s card. Make a note on the back of when and where you met and the things you want to remember about that person. If you can’t get a card, then note on a piece of paper or in a notebook his/her name and contact information along with what was said? Clearly, you won’t have time to do this for every person you meet or who stands in line to get your autograph, but you can do it for those you especially want to remember. If your “meet up” is online, and you think this person might help you or you might be able to help them in the future, make a note of that person’s name, URL, email, whatever you want to remember in the future.
Networking is more than just meeting people and listening to them. It's keeping track of all those encounters. All right, I admit, it can be a pain and time-consuming, but it could also pay off big in the future. You meet not only experts, but authors who might provide cover blurbs, other writers looking for critique partners, business people who might give you personal attention when it comes to printing your business cards because they know you, people who can give you the inside scoop on upcoming workshops or up-and-coming agents, and more. All these people are out there. You just have to meet them.
And that's the basic three steps to Successful Networking – Listen, Meet, Keep a Database. In other words, get away from your desk and computer, meet people, listen to them, maintain contact, and keep up with your database list.
Now, get out there and Network. It’s actually fun.
6 months ago