How To Be A Great Networker

Extracting the Maximum Value from One-to-Ones in a Network In Action Group 


Owning various businesses for over 30 years, witnessing the success of business networking, steering Network In Actions growth  to over 300 networking  groups across the globe, I’ve identified a pivotal component that often goes unnoticed: The Power of One-to-One Meetings! This personalized interaction between two members fosters not only a deeper connection but also nurtures a fertile ground for mutual growth and strategic partnerships among NIA members.


The Quintessence of One-to-One

In the variegated landscape of business, where digital seems to rule the day, one-to-one meetings stand out as priceless relics that have never lost their value. They encompass a perfect opportunity to establish trust, while understanding nuances of each other’s business, and building a bridge toward sustainable business relations. The candid exchange of insights, visions, and potential challenges pave the way for each party to understand best how to help each other.


Five Pillars to Accomplish in One-to-One Meetings:

1. Build Genuine Rapport:

Objective: Forge a personal connection that transcends transactional interactions.

Tactics: Go beyond business topics. Understand their journey, values, their why, and goals, ensuring the engagement is authentic and mutually respectful.

Why It Matters: A genuine connection fosters a relationship where both parties are likely to go the extra mile in supporting each other’s endeavors.


2. Understand Their Business Better:

Objective: Delve into the intricate web of their business operations, challenges, and aspirations.

Tactics: Engage in dialogue that unravel the layers of their business, exploring their offerings, target audience, and unique selling propositions.

Why It Matters: Thorough understanding aids in identifying collaboration opportunities and offering value, enhancing the relationship for years to come.


3. Identify Collaboration opportunities:

Objective: Explore tangible and intangible areas where both entities can coalesce to foster mutual growth.

Tactics: Evaluate how your products, services, or networks might benefit each other, and explore potential partnerships or collaborations.

Why It Matters: Strategic collaborations can open new vistas for business opportunities and clientele, amplifying growth.


4. Share Expertise Generously:

Objective: Establish yourself as a valuable resource by sharing your  expertise.

Tactics: Offer insights, advice, or knowledge that could benefit their business without expecting immediate reciprocation.

Why It Matters: Positioning yourself as a knowledgeable and generous professional makes you a go-to resource.


5. Establish Follow-up Protocols:

Objective: Ensure the meeting yields fruitful outcomes with a  structured follow-up plan.

Tactics: Define clear next steps, allocate responsibilities, and establish timelines to keep the momentum alive.

Why It Matters: Concrete follow-up actions ensure that the efforts invested in the one-to-one meeting cascade into tangible results and sustainable relationships.


Navigating through the journey of business ownership and networking, one realizes that the most potent connections are almost always nurtured in personalized environments. A well-executed one-to-one meeting not only stitches a robust fabric of professional camaraderie but also propels businesses towards new horizons by unlocking doors to fresh opportunities and perspectives. Amidst the plethora of networking platforms, a one-to-one meeting triumphs for its ability to rapidly build trust with a personal touch, leading to a real opportunity for both parties to win.


 As an experienced networker I hope this serves as a useful guide and inspires many more fruitful one-to-one meetings. If truth be told joining a networking group without a passion for one to ones is like joining a workout gym never actually going and hoping for a great result. It is juts not going to happen!

Having been in various businesses for over 30 years and having witnessed the incredible benefits of business networking, I've learned something crucial that often gets overlooked: The Magic of One-to-One Meetings! These personal interactions between two members aren't just about forging a connection; they create fertile ground for mutual growth and strategic partnerships among our Network In Action (NIA) members.


The Essence of One-to-Ones

In the ever-evolving world of business, where digital communication often takes center stage, one-to-one meetings shine as timeless treasures. They provide a golden opportunity to build trust, gain a deep understanding of each other's businesses, and lay the foundation for lasting business relationships. These candid conversations, where insights, visions, and potential challenges are shared, pave the way for us to understand how we can best support each other.


Five Key Goals for One-to-One Meetings

1. Building Real Connections:

Objective: Develop personal connections that go beyond mere transactions.

Approach: Dive deeper than just discussing business. Understand their journey, values, what drives them, and their goals, ensuring our engagement is genuine and mutually respectful.

Why It Matters: Genuine connections lead to relationships where both parties are willing to go the extra mile to support each other.


2. Better Understanding of Their Business:

Objective: Explore the intricate details of their business operations, challenges, and aspirations.

Approach: Engage in conversations that unveil the layers of their business, exploring their products, target audience, and what sets them apart.

Why It Matters: A thorough understanding helps us identify opportunities for collaboration and adds value, strengthening our relationship over time.


3. Finding Collaboration Opportunities:

Objective: Discover tangible and intangible areas where both parties can come together to foster mutual growth.

Approach: Evaluate how our products, services, or networks might benefit each other and explore potential partnerships or collaborations.

Why It Matters: Strategic collaborations can open doors to new business opportunities and clients, leading to growth.


4. Sharing Expertise Generously:

Objective: Establish yourself as a valuable resource by freely sharing your expertise.

Approach: Offer insights, advice, or knowledge that could benefit their business without expecting immediate returns.

Why It Matters: Positioning ourselves as knowledgeable and generous professionals makes us a go-to resource.


5. Establishing Follow-up Plans:

Objective: Ensure our meetings lead to productive outcomes with a structured follow-up plan.

Approach: Define clear next steps, assign responsibilities, and set timelines to maintain the momentum.

Why It Matters: Concrete follow-up actions ensure that our efforts in the one-to-one meetings lead to tangible results and enduring relationships.


Navigating the world of business ownership and networking, one thing becomes clear: the most valuable connections are often cultivated in personalized settings. A well-executed one-to-one meeting not only strengthens professional bonds but also propels businesses toward new opportunities and perspectives. Among the many networking platforms available, a one-to-one meeting stands out for its ability to build trust on a personal level, offering real opportunities for both parties to succeed.


As a seasoned networker, I hope this guide inspires many more fruitful one-to-one meetings. To be honest, joining a networking group without a passion for one-to-ones is like signing up for a gym and never actually going, hoping for great results. It just won't happen!

Are you making the most out of your one-on-one meetings? As the founder of Network In Action, I've gained invaluable insights from countless interactions with professionals. Here are five essential lessons to make your one-to-one meetings truly productive:


Always Learn Something New

Every one-on-one meeting is an opportunity to expand your knowledge. Approach each conversation with the mindset that you can learn something new about how to help the other person with their business. Ask questions, seek insights, and be open to fresh ideas.

Leave Your Ego at the Door

To create meaningful connections, leave your ego behind. Focus  on the other party's needs, goals, and challenges. Empathize with their perspective and show genuine interest in their success. Remember, it's not about you; it's about them. If you follow this model first their will be ample time for your story as well!

No Time for Drama

One-on-one meetings are not the place to vent about life's troubles, bad spouses, or difficult bosses. Keep the conversation positive and professional. Avoid complaining or dwelling on negative aspects of your personal life. This sets the stage for productive discussions. After all who likes a grinch!

Prepare Relevant Questions

Come prepared with a list of thoughtful questions. Use these questions to gain concrete insights into who they need to meet and the best ways to support their business growth. Crafting well-thought-out questions demonstrates your commitment to their success. Don’t be afraid to take notes!

Tangible Follow-Up Plan

Don't let the connection fade after the meeting ends. Have a tangible follow-up plan in place. Whether it's scheduling another meeting, sharing valuable resources, or introducing them to relevant contacts, ensure there's a clear path forward.



10 Essential Questions for One-on-One Meetings:

What are your primary business goals at the moment?

Can you describe your ideal customer or client?

Are there any specific challenges or obstacles you're facing in your business?

Who would be an ideal referral or connection for you right now?

How can I best support your business growth?

What recent successes have you had in your business?

Are there any industry trends or developments you're closely following?

What do you enjoy most about your work?

How do you typically find new clients or customers?

What can I do to help you achieve your business objectives?


Remember, one-on-one meetings are not just about networking; they're about building lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. By following these tips and asking thoughtful questions, you'll maximize the value of each interaction and strengthen your professional network.

As an experienced business networker, I can explain why people often dislike networking, here I will cite ten common reasons:


Repetitive Elevator Pitches

People dislike networking when they're forced to listen to the same elevator pitches week after week. It becomes redundant when members already know what others do for a living, and it flat out a wasted opportunity for more meaningful connections.

Recruitment Overkill

Weekly meetings that primarily focus on guest  instead of providing value to existing paying members can be frustrating. Members want tangible benefits, not just constant recruitment pressure.

Annual Leadership Changes

When volunteer leadership changes every year, it can create uncertainty and disrupt the group's dynamics. You may not know what the next leader's style or vision will be, leading to a lack of continuity and stability. Often groups splinter into little cliques making it hard for others to get their foot in the door.

Forced Friend Recruitment

Most  networking groups require members to recruit friends, even when it doesn't align with their business goals or target audience. This can feel like an imposition and detracts from the primary purpose of business networking.

Outdated Technology

In today's digital age, a lack of real technology or online tools can hinder networking efforts. Members expect efficient communication, event management, and collaboration tools to enhance their experience.

Lead Quotas

Being expected to pass a lead every week, whether you have a relevant one or not, can create stress and artificial interactions. Qualityreferrals should be prioritized over quantity.

Excessive Volunteering

Many networking groups suggest or require members to volunteer a significant amount of their time, which can be burdensome, especially for busy professionals who are primarily looking to grow their businesses.

Inefficient Meetings

Lengthy, disorganized meetings without a clear agenda can frustrate members. People want structured, productive gatherings that maximize their time and opportunities, but they do not want redundant leadership reports that detract from the actual networking experience.

Lack of Diversity

Networking groups that lack diversity in terms of industries or backgrounds can limit the potential for valuable connections. Members may feel like they're stuck in an echo chamber. If members are not dragging their friends the group does not grow. If they are they are taking time away from recruiting their own new customers!

Hidden Costs

Some networking groups may have hidden costs, such as expensive weekly meal charges, or hospitality fees for room rental, which can catch members off guard and lead to resentment.


In summary, people often hate networking when it feels like a repetitive and unproductive process, with a focus on recruitment and a lack of technology and diversity. To enhance the networking experience, it's important for groups to prioritize member value, technology integration, and transparent communication. Let’s face it the industry has not changed much since it’s inception and is long overdue for a major overhaul! 

Getting comfortable with a traditional networking group can be a bit challenging for introverts, but with practice and patience, it's entirely possible. Here are ten strategies to help introverts feel at ease in networking situations:


Set Realistic Expectations

Understand that not every interaction has to result in a deep connection or immediate friendship. Networking is also about building acquaintances and professional relationships.

Prepare and Research

Before attending a networking event, research the attendees or topics to have conversation starters ready. This can help ease anxiety about not knowing what to say.

Practice Small Talk

Develop some small talk topics and questions to break the ice. Ask about their work, interests, or recent experiences. Be genuinely curious about their responses.

Set Goals

Define clear, achievable goals for each networking event. For instance, aim to exchange contact information with two new people or learn something valuable from a speaker. One great tip is to pull your cell phone out and make a commitment to leave the meeting with one follow up on your calendar already scheduled!

Arrive Early

Arriving early can make it easier to start conversations with a few people before the event gets crowded, making it feel less overwhelming. But if you can’t at least arrive. Just like riding a bike practice makes perfect and you will be better at this the 3rd and 4th time than the first.

Use Online Networking

If in-person networking is too intimidating, consider starting with online forums, social media groups, or virtual networking events. It allows you to engage at your own pace.

Listen Actively

Introverts often excel at listening. Use this skill to your advantage. Show genuine interest in what others are saying, and they will appreciate your attention.

Practice Self-Care

Ensure you're well-rested and have taken care of your basic needs before the event. This will help you feel more comfortable and less stressed. And remember the old but true adage you only have one chance to make a great first impression. 

Leverage Technology

Use networking apps or LinkedIn to connect with people you meet. This way, you can continue the conversation at your own pace later.

Join Smaller Groups

If large events are too overwhelming, seek out smaller, more intimate gatherings. These settings often allow for more meaningful interactions.


Remember that networking is a skill that improves with practice. Over time, you'll become more comfortable, and it'll become easier to make connections and build relationships, even as an introvert. With the right attitude and approach you may even grow to enjoy it!

Page 1 of 2