Networking is an UP experience when you are totally committed! To be accomplished at anything, it takes more than a casual interest; it takes total commitment. You must have a serious commitment to learning and implementing a process of relationship building. You meet new people and make great friends. It’s natural that all members feel stronger, more confident and self-assured. They are working together for the good of everyone in the group.
The strength in networking is the sharing of ideas. It give you a competitive advantage. Being around people with mutual interests boosts your ego and sense of self-worth and it reaffirms your own value to society.
There is usually a period of time during which members are often wary of each other. Spending time getting to know your networking partners takes time. You must learn to build trust among members if your network efforts will work. It’s an exercise in connecting; an opportunity to enhance your career by building close business relationships and alliances with others. The feeling of solidarity in networking brings out the best in you. It fosters instant bonding.
These connections provide you with a perspective about how you work and provide you with different approaches to problems; they sharpen your own ideas about what is possible. They make you more visible to others like yourself. Contacts in networking release you from a feeling of dependence, allowing you to be bolder in your thinking because you are no longer afraid that you are alone in what you do. These connections are life-giving, enriching and assures you of many other opportunities that you may not have noticed before.
People who network are not afraid to label themselves as elite and are not afraid to apply words like ambition, power, prestige and status to their list of desires. They are the doers of the world.
Here are 10 things that effective networkers must always keep in mind.
1. Be open minded. Be ever looking for opportunities to give, to receive and to make new connections.
2. Be prepared. Success is when preparedness meets opportunity. Carry an abundance of business cards and business brochures. Always be thinking: “What can I contribute to my networking partners.
3. Treat those in your network as equals. Networks are different from bureaucracies. In a bureaucracy there is a hierarchy, a ranking. Everyone should be equal in your eyes.
4. Choose members based on information not position. Your goal is to share you knowledge and acquire information and business referrals. Select members of your network because they are a resource not a person in a position to find you a resource. People in high places aren’t always closely in touch with the people who have the information you may need.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask… Lots of cards and contacts are only lots of cards and contacts unless you ask for the information or service you require. If you follow #3 you will treat everyone as an equal.
6. Don’t waste your resources. #5 warned you not to let your resources go to waste by being unused. Never use your resources the wrong way. You can abuses the members of your network only once – after that you may find that they will make themselves unavailable to you. Be sure to get permission to give a referral from the referred. Brief the person you are referring about the referral. Always give quality referrals. Screen them. No “off-the-cuff” referrals. For example, is it a lead or a referral? It’s important to know the difference.
7. Give without expectations. That means avoiding the attitude of “what’s in it for me?” When you give of yourself only because you expect something in return, you leave yourself open for disappointment. This can cause ill will between you and other people in your network. It’s very likely that a referral may not come back to you immediately, but it always will although it may not come from the person you gave a referral to.
8. Remember to say, “Thank you!” Always let the person who gave you a referral how it turned out. It’s always better if this happens face-to-face. It’s also very important to follow-up on all referrals immediately! For the person who gave you the referral to find out that you never followed up is a colossal networking no-no!
9. Set realistic and achievable networking goals. Don’t over burden yourself by thinking that you have to attend a networking event every night of the week. That’s spreading yourself much too thin. Pick one networking group and spend your time getting to know each member individually. Effective networking takes time and lots of effort. Keep the business cards of your group in a card holder and keep it with you went making appointments. I always asked every business encounter if there was anything that I can help them with.
10. Be committed and determined to do whatever it takes to make networking work. Don’t give up. Spend time developing close business relationships. Never miss a networking group meeting. Be loyal to the members. You’ve got to know exactly how you add value to the group. Actively search for referrals for others. Don’t just show up. Show up with a handful of referrals for other members. Volunteer. Make yourself visible to everyone. One of the best ways to do that is to volunteer to become an officer or one of the leaders of the group. Always make networking a HIGH priority!
Copyright © 2014 – 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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