One of the biggest problems with people who network is perception. Many who attend networking events expect immediate results. Most likely that is not going to happen. Results hardly ever happen overnight.
Here is the truth about expectations: “Unfulfilled expectations always cause problems!” It doesn’t matter if it’s a good or a bad expectation. If we don’t get what we expect, we get disappointed. Disappointment leads to frustration, resentment, upsets of all kinds and worse. It often causes people to give up. Giving up is a mistake.
You don’t have to love the networking process, you just have to love, want, and need the results bad enough to spend some time and energy on learning to network the right way.
Networking is about building long-term relationships. Notice I said, long-term. Not short term. It’s also about cultivating mutually beneficial relationships – getting to know those people who understand that networking is about helping others; people you can count on to help you in return. You strengthen relationships by building a network of support, communicating with people, providing them with things they need, finding common interests, and doing fun things together.
It’s called “business” networking for a reason. When you run a business you must have a long-term plan. People who are serious about networking also need a plan. Networking is critical for building your community – not just of clients, but of resources for you. It takes time. Business networking is not for people who subscribe to “What’s in it for me?” thinking. Concerning yourself with what is in it for you, is the wrong way to network. Those people “should” quit networking. They give networking a bad name.
Be selective about the events you do attend. Choose carefully. With all the other things you are expected to do it is not possible to attend every networking event you hear about.
If you have had a bad experience with networking, the next event you attend get your attitude right. Create some excitement. With a smile on your face and an attitude of “How can I help you,” you can light up the whole room. Focus on what you can contribute instead of what you might receive as a result of being there.
Being consistent is one of the keys. Hit and miss doesn’t work. Consistency in your follow-up will keep you in touch and after you have learned about how you can help others in your network it will create interest in what you do. You must establish a reputation that encourages people to want to connect with you. You are your personal brand.
Networking is not a complicated process. And it takes some dedication to learning some of the secrets from successful networkers. If you are spending your time simply adding people to your list you may become overwhelmed with the follow-up, become discouraged and quit. Quitting is not an option!
What value can you add to your network? Think about it, then do something that will cause others to see the value in having you be a part of their network. This is a frequently overlooked piece of the networking puzzle.
[Networking is] a very simple series of activities. Go places, meet people, interact with them, and keep track of who, what, where when. That’s it. Simple stuff. So why is it so hard for us to start networking or to do it consistently? Because it’s easy to not do. Today’s business environment is complicated and our daily lives are over-booked, over-stressed, and over-analysed. We find ourselves resisting networking because we are overwhelmed. We’ve overthought the process until it seems like a hopeless complication, not a vital activity that will benefit us now and will compound over time. – Beth Bridges
How is your NetWorking?
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”
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