Here is an idea that may help make it stronger!
If you cannot call your networking group your network of support, you have some work to do. Part of the expectation of a networking group is to support the people who are in it. If you do not have a network of support that provides what you need, you have some more work to do.
Everyone has one or two people that they know they can count on. A strong network of support is a group of people – who have become your friends – friends you know you can count on. Having the support of people with similar interests and passions greatly enhances your chances of success. A strong network is an invaluable source for planning, problem solving and social interaction.
Cultivating social support can take some effort. Some of the most important networks which we find ourselves a part of are strengthened by not just contact at our weekly network meeting, but the time we spend socially together. Get together with your networking friends at your office and together explore options for giving and receiving more support. You can do a lot more by meeting with 6 to ten people at a time. It is important to build this social network slowly, selecting only people you deem to be trustworthy and supportive. A few of these people could be someone you network with that is outside of your weekly networking group.
Invite like-minded networkers as they are the best. The purpose is to build allies. Be bold about reaching out. Arrange a get together at your office to show that you’re serious about growing your business and how you can assist them. Provide some snacks and drinks. Be direct about how they can help you. But be careful to focus more on what they can all do for each other, not on what you have to gain. This kind of social gathering pays dividends. It can provide a lot of benefits to anyone
A social gathering like this gives you the opportunity to learn from the experience of others. Listen. Take notes. Learn more about what they do and how you can help them succeed. Make a point to remember what’s going on in the lives of others. Then relate any interests or experiences you have in common. Sharing details about yourself and your life can also help establish rapport. Promote the success of others, your generosity will be remembered. Carefully choose a couple of people from this gathering to contact later to get to know them better. This kind of support provides a sense of belonging, security and a welcoming forum in which to share your business concerns and needs.
It’s also important to reach out to mentors by asking those people you admire to support you and help you learn more about their business and how you an assist each other. Your reach should far exceed beyond your own business environment. Attempt to vary the type of contacts you have in your network. The wider the variety of people, the better your network works. Help people remember you by being sincere and showing that you care about them. You can do this by saying “If there is anything I can do to help you, please let me know.” This opens doors for a great two-way exchange of support and also will make them feel special that you care about them. You will also learn who’s got your back – who you can depend on for support.
A gathering like this gives you the opportunity to do a little coaching. Share ideas that have worked for you and encourage others to do likewise. It is important to have a good network of support that you can bounce ideas off of and get feedback from. A good support network offers benefits that cannot be achieved otherwise.
Keep records of the people you meet and the conversations you have and never be afraid to contact them periodically to help them remember you. Successful people love to share and talk about their success. Do your best to get a commitment from every single attendee to take action to build their own support community, and to proactively help others do the same. Stress that to thrive on a long-term basis in networking, and to become leaders, they need to focus on the growth of others in their own personal network as well as other networkers in the network to which they belong. This attitude contributes to everyone and assists with their own success and development.
If this idea is too much for you to handle alone… buddy up! Solicit a like-minded networker to help you.
For networking to work, your efforts at it much be intentional. It also requires accountability. Perhaps a buddy that will be there to support you in being accountable for what you say you will do is another good idea. One of the best ways to feel more in control of your life is to develop a strong network of friends, relatives, co-workers and others you can count on for support. I can assure you that if you truly understand the concept of business networking, you could focus primarily on networking and I know you would be surprised how quickly your business would grow.
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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