Networking – the thought alone exhilarates some and strikes fear into the hearts of others, even though it is a positive and important activity that can serve many areas of life.
A network is a group of people who trust, respect and are willing to help each other. Networking is the cultivation of such a group. It is as simple as that.
Networking is becoming more important in business today, so don’t leave developing your network to chance. Be proactive.
8 Tips for Successful Networking:
- Show enthusiasm and passion, as well as respect and courtesy. Cultivate an emotional connection, dealing with people in a way that builds positive relationships. If individuals like you and want to work with you, they will want to help you.
- Think reciprocity. Be willing to give freely, share ideas, and connect individuals to one another. Give generously to others and they will reciprocate.
- Pick people who inspire you. Network with those who keep you grounded and centred.
- Remember the power of twelve. Every person you know knows twelve people, who each know twelve people… Your contacts quickly grow exponentially.
- Ensure regular touch points to make sure the relationship continues to function. If you never fill your car with gas, eventually it stops working.
- Be authentic. Show that you genuinely care about others and want them to succeed.
- Don’t prejudge or ask “what do I have to offer this person?” If you open your mind you will be amazed how you can be of assistance to others.
- Choose people who will support you in your success. Find:
- A coach – someone who can assist you develop strong goals, provide guidance, support, and help you be accountable for your actions.
- Mentors –who will provide advice. They are not accountable for ensuring you take action; but, they are vested in your success and want you to succeed.
- A visionary – tap into visionary people who can inspire you to both see and live your own dream.
- An industry expert – someone who can give advice specific to your industry, who is able to provide up-to-date knowledge that can enhance your business.
- A connector – in Standing Out, Marcus Buckingham describes a connector as someone who brings two people together to share resources or ideas in order to make it bigger.
Your mindset will determine your success. Networking can be fun if you think about it as an opportunity to meet new people and continue learning. As you grow your network you will also act as a role model for your team and help them grow successful networks. Networking done well has mutual benefit. You help others and receive help in return.