Step 1 – Collecting Business Cards
While you are attending any networking event or meeting of any kind where there is a period allocated for people to network and meet each other, it’s fine to have many conversations with different people and collect as many as 8-10 business cards.
However, with NetWeaving, we recommend that you limit it to 1 or 2 people with whom you are going to follow up afterwards. And we also suggest that you make your decision based upon the simple question; “Is this someone I genuinely liked and would like to get to know better?” – regardless of their field or profession. Make notes on the back of the person’s business card or on one of your own cards if they don’t have one with their name and include 2 or 3 things the person said which made the conversation interesting.
Step 2 – Follow up
Drop an email or personal note to the person either that night after the event or the next day. If it was a great meeting and they really impressed you, call them within 24 to 48 hours to set up a one-on-one meeting to get to know the person better. Make sure to mention in the email or note at least one or two things you discussed or a point or two the other person made that impressed you. This can just be a cup of coffee, or breakfast, but the important thing is to get it scheduled within the next week or two. These days, you might even say, “Let’s do a Zoom call over a cup of coffee.”
Step 3 – Explain the NetWeaving Concept
It’s always good to explain a little about the NetWeaving concept as one of the reasons you wanted to get together so soon after meeting. You might even bring a copy of The NetWeaver’s Creed as something to leave with the other person as a reminder of what NetWeaving is all about. At this meeting, as you are listening with that 2nd pair of ears, and tuned in with that 2nd set of antennae, to think of someone whom you know who would benefit from meeting this person. You volunteer to ‘host’ a meeting to introduce your new friend to this person and often the other person will reciprocate and come up with someone to whom he or she would also like to introduce you.
Step 4 – Host a Meeting
You host a meeting to introduce your new friend to someone you believe they would benefit meeting – a cup of coffee, a breakfast, a lunch, an after-work get-together. Once again, at that meeting, you as moderator, set the tone by giving a brief overview of the NetWeaving concept and why you put the meeting together, and then you essentially sit back and listen as they usually have no trouble finding ways to help each other and discovering people they know in common whom they never would have guessed had you not made the connection.
Step 5 – Pay It Forward
We have found that at the end of most meetings that you host, you will find that one or both of the people whom you have connected will ask how they can help you. And whether you do this before they even volunteer, or after one or both of them do, we suggest that you surprise them by asking or challenging each of them – in true NetWeaving fashion – just to Pay It Forward and to ‘host’ a meeting, or just introduce two other people they know to each other. This is why, with permission of Catherine Ryan Hyde, the author of the book on which the popular movie is based, NetWeaving is known as the ‘business’ version of Pay It Forward. And what’s also surprising, is that they will usually agree to do that, but one or both will still come back and insist, “Seriously, how can we help you?”
During the first 15-20 years that NetWeaving was in existence, one major barrier to hosting NetWeaving meetings was the time and effort it took to coordinate the schedules as well as settling on the time and place to meet. The only alternative was a 3-way phone call, but without the visual element, they were not very effective. Today, with Zoom, and other ways to set up and host ‘virtual’ NetWeaving meetings, it has opened up tremendous opportunities for NetWeaving hosting meetings to explode in popularity.