How to Network (Like a Ninja)

Are you an effective networker? Or do your return from a meeting or event with dozens of business cards you have no intention of ever looking at again?

Here are 5 ways to spot a good opportunity

(and check out this video post about a new kind of networking, at Twestival in Brighton)


In order to react and respond well, we need strategic vision. We need to spot opportunity even when it knocks very softly at the door and see threats coming whilst they’re still relatively in the distance.

This takes some preparation and research and there are some useful shortcuts to use.

Networking, for example, is a great way to keep your ear to the ground. Different people will have a different policy on networking, but broadly I set out to tick off these criteria, in this order:


2 characters shaking hands as they network effectively1. Am I likely to meet interesting and useful people?

2. Is this person remarkable? Do they have something to say, or a good track record, or good enthusiasm? (If not, move on – there’s nothing to see here!)

3. Can this person tell me something that informs my work and broadens my strategic sense?

4. Can we work together on something?

5. Is there an obvious win-win here that takes half the effort of the conversation itself?


Only when I get to number five do I commit.

Often we get carried away with possibility, but delivery is another matter, so only pursue those that in conversation appear to be the ‘no-brainers’.


Like this? Try these

Sign up to one of our Facilitation Skills Training workshops | Think Productive UK 

5 Tips on Effective Networking: Digitally or In-Person | 

9 alternatives to (long) meetings | 

Blog post: Have effective meetings | 



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