Susan RoAne, Guest Author
Behind every great man or woman is a great… network. In fact the most powerful people aren’t necessarily those with the largest bank accounts, but those with the biggest contact list or database; the “Rolodex” of today. Their networks are expansive and diverse, and because of those linkages, they’re able to pick up the phone and make things happen.
Eight Traits of a Savvy Networker
How can you build a power-network? First, start thinking of networking not as a WORK style, but as a LIFE style that can enhance your personal and professional life. Then develop the networking skills of the masters. To be a savvy networker:
• Look people in the eye and make them feel comfortable from the very first meeting.
• Ask questions and listen intently, rather than scanning the room for someone more important to talk to or checking a Blackberry for incoming messages.
• Stay in touch with people − especially when you need nothing from them.
• Be loyal and look out for your friends.
• Be easy to work with.
• Have an enjoyable presence and be at ease with both men and women
• Exude confidence.
• Offer to help before asked and do so when asked
• Embrace all people, not just the right people.
Know Who You Know
Everybody has a network. The important thing is to know who you know. Keep a database of your contacts and connections. Start with your Holiday card list, and work back from there. Think about all the jobs you’ve held and the different colleagues, competitors and vendors you’ve worked with. Think of the professional organizations and church or synagogue you belong to. Then recall the neighborhoods you’ve lived in, the people you went to school with and the clubs and organizations you to which you belonged.
As you go through this process, list the names of people you remember – and who will remember you. Don’t forget those who are on the periphery of your life, yet are a great source: your dry cleaner, local baker, barber/hairstylist, mechanic, children’s teachers, etc.
Treat People as People not as Contacts
Establish relationships with the contacts you’ve made. Networking is a reciprocal process and should be done in the spirit of sharing that transcends the information shared. The best networkers reflect that spirit with a genuine joy in their “giving.” In fact, they don’t even know they’re networking: they just refer, match, recommend and bring people together.
Know How to Ask for Help
Having a network won’t get you the results you’re looking for if you’re afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s for your job search, a specific project or a recommendation, most people are happy to help when asked. But how you ask is important. The best of networkers ask in a way that allows people to say yes − and gives them room to say no.
Savvy networkers are aware of their impact on others and behave accordingly. Keep tabs on your “favor bank;” know whom you owe – and who owes you. Remember, most people who owe you favors actually want to be able to clear the slate! The behavior we must master is a tenet of networking: to Ask for help and to Offer your help. If we don’t, we will miss out on opportunities.
The late Sally Livingston, a pioneer networking advocate said it best: “Networking is not using others; it’s a process of utilizing sources and resources and being one for others.”
Copyright 2010 – Susan RoAne – Reprinted with permission. Susan RoAne is a speaker and author who has worked trade shows, conventions, planes, and the bleachers at Wrigley Field, and taught others to do the same. Her latest book, How to Create Your Own Luck: The You Never Know Approach to Networking, Taking Chances, and Opening Yourself to Opportunity, is out and her other books include How to Work a Room and The Secrets of Savvy Networking. To learn more call 415-239-2224. For further information: www.SusanRoAne.com, or e-mail @: Susan@SusanRoAne.com
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! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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