The most effective networking comes from quality and not quantity. It has been said that networking will increase your life by forty years! That is pretty incredible. Let’s look at why. Human beings are social in their very nature. We long to be respected, admired and valued by those who we find are the most important people in our life. The other day we were discussing how the world of technology is changing how individuals interact. The fear is that as time goes on, the art of human face-to-face communication may be sorely impacted. There are so many different ways to network now; more than at any time in the history of the world. Today you can network without walking out the door. The phenomenon of Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn and Twitter are making it easier to expand our individual networks. NULL With face-to-face networking you need to have a strategy for your networking efforts, otherwise you can easily spend a lot of time and your efforts will be fruitless in moving you forward with your professional and organizational goals. “A plan, like a tree, must have branches – if it is to bear fruit. A plan with a single aim is apt to prove a barren pole.” ~ B.H. Liddell Hart While traveling across the country speaking on how to network, I could tell which organizations had a well thought out networking strategy. Here are some of those key ingredients:
- Members from the same company would not sit together.
- Get to the function early and stay late.
- Each individual would bring business cards and lots of them to share.
- Plan of what questions to ask individuals you meet.
- Ask for permission to follow up to explore potential opportunities.
FOLLOW UP! If you say you are going to give someone a call, then do it.
The key to understanding networking is to split it into two separate words. Net refers to strategic casting of a large enough net into the sea of potential prospects in order to expand your client database whatever industry you happen to be in. Working refers to what this activity is, it should be viewed as work – hard work. Throughout the years I have been asked the question of “should I join a networking group?” or “which group should I join?” It is not necessary to join any group, however, consider the industry in which you are in. If there are certain prospects you are trying to reach, industry specific groups may be the best fit for you to consider.
You can network in all the different situations you find yourself.
Some of my best business and client experiences have been the result of attending my children’s school concerts or church activities. The key is to keep asking questions. Find out what is important to the individual you are getting to know. See how you may be able to solve a problem or if you know someone who can provide a solution. If you keep in mind that Networking is like dating then you will never go wrong. You need to meet a lot of people, ask a whole lot of questions and move the process forward by following up. The key is to be genuine and full of energy. Being positive will draw others to you and in the energy, synergy can occur. Every one of us has a personal sphere of influence of about 250 people. Every time you meet someone new, that person also has about 250 people in their sphere of influence. Once that person becomes a part of your network, another 250 people become indirectly part of your network as well. The possibilities are endless! If you are a numbers person and quiver at the thought of networking, then use the challenge of adding numbers to your sphere of influence to be a motivator.
Remember the most effective networking comes from quality and not quantity. In fact, successful individuals understand that quality in work and quantity at home are the secrets to a happy, fulfilled life.
As I conclude let me share this great mantra to make networking a successful experience in your life: