“Eighty percent of success is showing up!” ~ Woody Allen
If networking is going to work for you, you must aspire to be places that count. Did you know that you can learn to show up in the right place at the right time? It takes some effort. Anything that pays off with great rewards usually isn’t effortless.
Decide what places are important to you, find out who else will be there and show up. Go where opportunity is knocking. Where do the people who are making it hang out? What meetings do they attend? Learn to show up to schmooze.
To achieve maximum benefits while attending any function where the opportunity for networking exists, it is important to have a clear understanding of networking. You will notice that my definition of networking has two parts. #1 – Helping others, and #2 – Helping yourself. In that order.
To use networking as an effective business tool; to use it to help you make productive business links, you must first grasp the concept and engage in it relentlessly. Networking is a universal principle of giving and receiving – a lifestyle rather than a technique. It’s about turning the contacts you make into the connections you need and who need you. It’s about giving and not keeping score.
The first place you must show up is where you work. Be committed to be the best you can be at what you do. Show up early and stay late. Do whatever needs to be done. Then do some more. Let your boss see you doing more than he or she expected. What do you get for doing this? First, you get to keep your job. Second, the possibilities for additional income and position advancement increase. The more you do for others, the more you get for yourself. Give more than is expected and you will get more than you expected.
If you are one of those people who are just “putting your time in” until retirement, get off your butt. If you think you have reached a dead end, it could be that you are sitting on it. Get excited about what you do or decide to do something different. “How do I get excited about something I don’t like?” Why would you stay in a position that you don’t like? Weariness follows routine. Being some place you don’t want to be will drain your energy. You will almost always go home tired. When you are excited about what you do, your body floods you with energy. Excitement releases previously dormant energy. You need less sleep. You become more conscious about taking care of yourself. When you are excited about what you do, you do much better work and you are in a much better position to be an effective networker.
Attend workshops and seminars. These events are a great way to learn about a special subject or improve on some of your skills. Not only will you educate yourself but also you will meet professionals in a unique learning environment. Take this opportunity to network with the speaker or company producing the workshop. Many workshops designate time for networking either before or after the educational segment. Stand out in the crowd. Take this time to work the room.
Many workshops cater to a particular individual or industry so you will have a good idea of the kinds of people you are meeting. You will meet a variety of individuals such as executives, entrepreneurs and service providers. People of many different skill levels attend.
Attend cultural events. Many of the museums and art galleries regularly put on wine and cheese parties to show off their exhibits. These parties are a great chance to meet some of the cultured professionals in your area. They are often fund-raisers and are very social and fun.
Attend trade shows. A trade show is an easy way to meet people with similar interests. Exhibitor or not, trade shows are a great place to meet other people in your industry. Take advantage of some of the educational seminars because you will be able to network with some of the attendees before and after the presentation. Talk with some of the exhibitors about their companies and what they have to offer. Only take business cards from people who interest you or might have an interest in your product or services.
Here are a few other groups to consider.
Chamber of Commerce “After Hours”
Community service clubs
Church or Synagogue
Opportunity is everywhere! Be visible at a variety of places.
Copyright © 2011 – 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! 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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