So… here is the problem! A lack of networking education – in my opinion – is what is missing for most newbie networkers.
They hear about networking, think its a great idea and jump in the deep end of the networking pool without the slightest knowledge about how networking really works.
Anything… I repeat, ‘anything’ that propels you forward like networking can requires an in depth study of how to do it correctly! To master the art of delayed gratification is a prerequisite for effective business networking. You must also be dedicated to doing whatever it takes to make networking work and to “helping others.” If you are only in it for yourself, you are doomed to fail!
It’s not about being a business card collector or about pushing your card into someone’s hand or going on and on about your business (before the person you are talking to even shows an interest). For networking to work you must develop a network of support from people that you like and trust and who likes and trusts you.
Liking and trusting comes as a result of developing close business relationships. You can’t develop a close relationship in a meeting or two or even three. Building relationships takes time and requires mucho patience. Patience has been described as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, without getting angry or upset. Or… in the case of networking, quitting too soon!
There are several things you can do.
1. Hire a networking coach. That’s what I did when I began networking many years ago. Find someone who is dedicated to the art of networking – someone who will carefully guide you through the many things that you must learn to make networking effective.
2. Read and study good networking books. Although I may be prejudiced, my own book, “Ten Commitments of Networking,” is a great book to start with. Other networking authors worth reading include Bob Burg, Ivan Misner, Donna Fisher, and Andy Lopata. All are available online.
3. Learn from the hundreds of FREE networking articles on this Blog and on the Internet. For an up-to-date list of hundreds of networking articles, click here! As of September 24, 2013, there are more than 375 articles about Networking. You can get a college equivalent education by reading several networking articles each day and immediately putting those ideas to work for you.
4. Attend business networking seminars and workshops. Take notes. Put your notes into use as soon as possible.
5. Tag along and observe the people who appear to be doing well in networking. This will take longer because if you don’t know what you are doing it may be difficult to tell if someone else is really on the right track.
Business networking is not for the faint of heart. It takes work – real work. You don’t just go network, you plan to network. It requires some advance planning before you get to the meeting or event. You cannot be shy and network effectively. Often you may have to do something that feels uncomfortable… like walk up to a stranger, introduce yourself and ask, “How can I help you?”
If you need help, ask for it. If not… prove it!
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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