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The Art of Charm’s Jordan Harbinger on His Top Networking Sins and How to Avoid Them

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Jordan Harbinger knows a thing or two about networking and relationships. He’s the host of the Art Of Charm podcast, which helps over two million listeners a month start, maintain, and grow their business relationships.

Before all that though Jordan was an attorney on Wall Street. He found himself working side by side with people who had left their families to take this job. In his recent interview with entrepreneur and investor Matt Bodnar on The Science of Success Podcast, Harbinger explains what set him apart from the herd of extremely ambitious individuals.

“I found this sort of secret, hidden path I should say, to the top,” Harbinger tells Bodnar.”I had previously thought, you work your way to the top, put in your time, and then you get introduced along the way to all these high level people and you start hanging out and throwing each other deals, and it turns out it kind of happens the other way around” Harbinger explains.

“Pulling a good network together takes effort, sincerity and time.” – Alan Collins

So Harbinger began working on his relationship building skills and before long found his niche helping others work on their skills as well. “It’s a whole different skill set that’s a lot harder,” he tells Bodnar. “What got you into the Wall Street firm is not necessarily going to get you to the top…it’s two totally different skills.” Noting that books smarts is often not enough to reach the next level of what many define as success.

Throughout the years Jordan developed a list of networking sins he shared with The Science of Success that he recommends everyone, no matter the stage of your career avoid falling prey to.

Check them out below:

1. Failing to dig the well before you are thirsty

“A lot of people look at what they can get out of an interaction instead of what they can give. You fail to think about how this looks from other people’s perspectives.” Explains Harbinger. The thought being that before you can begin asking connections for favors you ought to add value to them and see things from their perspective. He continues, “You have to be out there helping people get what they want before there’s an agenda on the table.”

2. Keeping score

“So what a lot of people do is they do this weird tit for tat, and there’s kind of a fine line here” he tells Bodnar. Harbinger brings up a time when a friend offered to do him a big favor and in the end, couldn’t deliver and wasted no time in turning around and asking him for a huge favor immediately after. “That’s not really a fair trade, because it’s a covert contract. You’re waiting for me to accept what I think is a favor, then bait and switch…Just Kidding! It’s a trade!” Offering a connection, a favor for the sole purpose of gaining leverage for your own gain is not the way to a strong and lasting relationship.

“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” – Keith Ferrazzi

3. Thinking you’re the one that has to deliver

“What I mean by that is that you’re the one who has to help everyone out.” Jordan uses an example of someone asking you for decorating advice. “Oh man, I wish I could help Jordan but I’m not a decorator… so I can’t help him out” Well… turns out you can! “Connect people in your network with each other, because as you do that, your network grows and your relationships grow.” Before you know it you’re the go-to guy who your connections feel indebted to for introducing them to others who can help them reach their goals.

“What we say at Art of Charm is always be giving, ABG” Harbinger tells Bodnar. “That means always be looking for ways to help other people without worrying about what you’re going to get in return, and when you constantly make that the practice instead of angling on how to get things from other people, you inevitably end up getting things back.”

You can listen to Jordan’s full hour long interview with Matt on Matt’s website or on iTunes, Stitcher, or the Android Store.

Matt Bodnar, named a “Rising Restaurateur Star” by the National Restaurant Association and a “Strategy Pro” by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine, is a partner at an early stage investment firm Fresh Hospitality where he focuses on deal making and strategy. Bodnar is also the creator and host of "The Science of Success" a #1 New & Noteworthy podcast, with more than 1 Million+ downloads, focused on improving decision-making, understanding psychology, and sharing insights from experts. Bodnar previously worked as an import/export consultant in Nanjing, China and spent several years at Goldman Sachs before returning to his family roots in the hospitality space.

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

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Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

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