by Hugh Anthony, Lifestyle Writer
“Networking is simply the cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win-win relationships. It works best, however, when emphasizing the ‘give’ part.”
Bob Burg, Author and Speaker
The twenty-first century dictates that a successful career is built on a key skill – networking. At the heart of it all is – relationships – the success factor that build businesses, and networking is the nexus in the equation. Whatever platform you choose: face-to-face, social media or through a referral, these are all enablers. It is the relationship that’s the catalyst or the game changer. Networking has become a critical success factor in building the foundation for sustainable business relationships and success.
Adapt an approach by exploring what you can give, when interacting with other professionals and not only focus on what you can get. Networking is not just about exchanging a business card; it is asking the question, how can I help or leave something of value? Reflect on how you can build synergy with the other individual. It is important, that you do your homework, i.e. research. Be definitive about what you are giving. It is in the giving that you will receive. See your networking as a relationship building opportunity. It is the premise upon which you may have the next amazing project partner, business contact or career move.
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
In my article on Speed Networking: Connecting Talent, Creativity and Capital (March 2012), a key element in networking is knowing how to optimize the networking experience; be it that you are a career or aspiring professional. In building your relationship, time is an essential element. Knowing who you would like to connect with, is important. Being enthusiastic about what you do and are willing to give, is the catalyst in the relationship building process. Be passionate about what you do, and be curious about what the other individual does. Chances are if you are not, you might not be taken seriously.
An invaluable tip in networking is to learn how successful people interact in their community and/or industry that you may be in or have an interest. Learn from observation, conversations or reading. You’ll realize key traits, the enthusiasm and excitement they have for what they do. You will notice they are very definitive about what they want. They are not afraid to ask for help or offer assistance. However, you need to learn and know when to ask for help and not be afraid to do so.
- Understand Self – Be authentic, positive, enthusiastic, engaging and passionate.
- Be Focused, Strategic and Selective – It is not about working the room and collecting business cards, it’s about starting relationships.
- Know How to Create Conversation – What’s your elevator pitch?
- Being Definitive – Know how you wish to help others (and you will be helped).
- Be Organized – Create a schedule for staying connected.
- Cultivate the Relationship – Explore effective ways to keep the relationships active and rewarding e.g. through ideas and resources sharing.
- Don’t Make Promises – Act and follow-up, ideally within 10 days. If you say you will be in touch, mean what you say and do what you say.
- Have Fun – It’s the key in sustaining the relationship.
- Dispel the Fear Factor – If you don’t, it will be your greatest inhibitor.
Be creative in sharing and staying connected; utilize the social media tools and platforms to harness and strengthen the relationship. Extend an invitation to an event or simply to share your favourite beverage. The intrinsic values that can be gained from networking are at times immeasurable. In the spirit of networking, your attitude will be the game-changer, and it is in the giving that you receive.
- 7 Tips from Professional Networkers by Ilya Pozin
- Networking Tips: Go From Awkward to Awesome by Patricia Fletcher
- The Network Retention Network Retention by Chi Chi Okezie
- Why Networking Doesn’t Work by Eric V. Holtzclaw
- Speed Networking: Connecting Talent, Creativity and Capital by Hugh Anthony
© 2013 Hugh Anthony. All rights reserved.