Are You Magnetized?

Over the last few years, I’ve begun to suspect that in some sense, I’m a magnet, and I’m not sure why. Not that I’m complaining – on the contrary, this magnetism has brought me large amounts of business, but I’ve tried to understand how this can be replicated.

First, though, I should explain what I mean by being a magnet. If I attend a networking event, I’ll meet people with businesses larger and smaller than my own. Chances are, at least a few of these encounters will result in second meetings over a cup of coffee. Or, I’ll hire someone on contract to do a bit of work for me, and the next thing I know, we’re sitting down to discuss opportunities for development.

It’s not just that I attend these events, though that does lend itself to making it easier to meet people. I think it’s more about the attitude toward meeting people at an event.

At this stage of my business development, I will often have more to gain from a networking associate, who may be more established in their business, and therefore able to offer more. However, one of the things I’ve learned is to never ask for the help, but rather, educate your network on what you do and the types of people you would like to meet, and the introductions will follow.

The second part of this is how conversations flow at these events. I try to express a genuine interest in what other people are doing with their businesses, and what they might need. This knowledge helps me in that for most of my business needs, I can find an answer with a couple emails or phone calls. I know who’s out there, I know what they can and can’t do, and much of the time, I also know who they know, or are connected to.

This ability to link people together makes people want to be in your network – they want to know you, and are happy to share their network, because they are aware that I do the same in return. The benefits are rarely aligned, but it is a large cycle, and most people intuitively know this.

Apparently, they’re also good at spotting such people. I can think of several people who would likewise describe themselves as a magnet, and I’ve discovered that they are taking the same approach as myself toward meeting people.

That, I believe, is one of the cornerstones of building a solid network.