Some of you networkers will not like this article. Why? Because I’m going to ask you to move out of your comfort zone.
For many, networking is not something that they are comfortable with. For others, networking is just not working!
There are as many reasons as there are networkers, however I’m discovering that most networkers have had no formal training about “how to” network. They attend weekly meeting or large events, collect a bunch of business cards that collect dust on their desk. After that… they’re lost. They haven’t a clue what to do next. They focus their efforts on selling their services primarily to the members of the group. BIG mistake! They can’t answer these questions: “What does a good networker do?” or “How does he/she act?” or “What is his or her basic attitude?”
Networking is much more than just getting out and meeting people. The best way to succeed at networking is to make a plan, commit to it, learn all the networking skills you can and execute your plan.
“Accountability breeds response-ability!” ~ Steven Covey
Here is an idea that has worked well for the many networkers that have requested coaching.
Find an “accountability networking partner!” So, what’s that? An accountability networking partner is someone that is similar to a mentor. It’s someone who you already have a relationship with; someone you trust. You must be authentic to each other. You agree to meet at least once a week to have lunch and review your networking progress; you brain-storm new ideas that work all designed to increase your networking performance. You agree to hold each other accountable for learning more about networking. It’s someone who will nudge… make that “push” you out of your comfort zone; someone who will hold you accountable to do what you know you must do to stay out in front of your competition and be more successful at business networking.
When you decide to have an ANP (accountability networking partner) you must first keep your word to each other. Be at the weekly meet-up (no excuses) and come prepared to review your past weeks successes and failures while networking. Consider this a long term project – at least six months, perhaps longer. You must become strategic partners. Create and discuss some new networking goals. It’s important to focus; begin developing relationships now with the people whose help you will need in the future. Volunteer for positions in your group.
Discuss how many times did you offer, ideas, tips, business leads, etc., to others in and out of your network of support. You may want to visit other networking groups together. You will be encouraged to focus on giving to others first and receiving from others second. In other words, don’t become known as a “taker.” You will drop the “what is in it for me?” attitude and focus on others. Always prioritise helping and giving to others ahead of taking and receiving for yourself.
“Networking is using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return!” ~ Larry James
The more you put into your ANP meeting, the more you will get out of it. It is truly a winning formula. Why? Because you both will benefit from this strategic alliance. Business networking is productive and fun, and that is why it will always be the right road to business success.
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Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. 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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