Beyond the Build

Management

On Networking and Karma.

NametagNetworking. At times, it’s the most elusive part of any business and probably the hardest to master effectively. I’ve learned a few things over the years, both from networking the wrong way and also from building some solid relationships.

I think my # 1 lesson learned is that networking is highly individual to the person you’re contacting, and one will be more successful if you take the time to learn and honor preferences. Some people want to hear from you more frequently via phone, others prefer you stay in touch with an occasional email, maybe on the weekend, or early morning or evening so they will notice outside of the daily grind. Figuring this out will make your time spent more valuable to the cause.

If in writing, as few of words as possible is key, along with trying to make “warm” connections, not business first. And if you take nothing else from this post, tuck this in your back pocket: Every time you reach out to someone, ask what you can do for them. Pay it forward by being a connector yourself, and you’ll stand out from the crowd. Beyond it being the right thing to do, the value exchange lends credence to your connection.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.