If you are unsure about how much time, effort and energy you should put in to business networking, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your business failing to thrive despite all of your sales and marketing efforts?
- Is networking something that you do only when you are looking for your next client or are looking for your next job?
- Do you feel awkward networking? Do you dislike making “small talk” with strangers you don’t know? Are you more of an introvert than an extrovert?
- Do you have little time to follow-up and stay connected with people outside your immediate work world?
Why should you spend more time networking?
WIIFM – What’s in it for me?
This is a fair question to ask. Let’s face it, networking will take time, energy and money. And, I imagine that you have other things going on in your life, like holding down a job, managing a family, volunteer work, trying to get exercise and stay healthy, among other things.
There are three reasons why I suggest that you make professional networking a priority in your life. This are the high level “WIIFMs” that I see for convincing you to step up your professional networking skills.
- Career Management
- Business Opportunities
- Personal Influence
This web site is all about helping you understand how you can use professional networking to help you better manager your career, create new business opportunities and increase your influence in the world. This is all possible through networking!
Networking is essentially about relationships.
We all have relationships. Some better than others. By advancing your professional networking skills, you can have more of them and make them more useful to you and to the other people in your world.
Here’s my favorite definition of professional networking:
Networking is the art of building and sustaining mutually beneficial relationships .
Diane Darling is a networking guru and author of the book The Networking Survival Guide: Get the Success You Want by Tapping into the People You Who. I’ve read this book and have it in my personal library. I recommend that you buy it and read it too. I met Diane at a networking event and was very inspired by her thinking and networking methodology.
Have those relationships in place before you need them
I’ve taken a little liberty with Diane’s quote and have modified it to make an important point. Here’s the modified quote:
Business networking is the art of building and sustaining mutually beneficial relationships…before you need them. – Kathy McAfee, author of the book Networking Ahead for Business.
It’s the “before you need them” part that many of us need to be reminded of. You don’t want to be in the position where you have to re-start or re-kindle your network now that you are out of a job. You want that network in place for you before something happens when you really need to tap into their help. (like getting laid off, getting fired, really needing a new client, etc.)
Why is effective follow-up is critical to your networking success?
How can you become a more effective, more motivated networker?
Learn to leverage who you know and who knows you to create greater opportunity in your world. This is the key to professional networking.
– Kathy McAfee, The Marketing Motivator
Step #1: Shift your thinking. Adopt a new mindset about professional networking. Networking is not just an event, but a process. Treat networking as a lifetime strategy, something you will do over the entire course of your work life.
Step #2: Activate your network. It’s time to reach out and re-connect to people from your past, present and establish future new connections. If you haven’t set up a LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter account, it’s time. These social on-line networking tools will help you be more “findable” and keep your connected with the people that are important to you.
- Want to connect with me on-line? Here’s my Linkedin profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathymcafee
Step #3: Create value for the people in your network.
There are so many ways in which you can create value for the people in your network and become important to them. You can connect them to other people in your network to help widen their circle. You can introduce them to resources and ideas (helpful web sites, articles, videos) to help them solve their problems and stimulate new ideas and discussion. You can bring joy to their day simply by being positive and letting them know that you are thinking of them. For more ideas, click here.
Step #4: Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. . You can’t expect to build a mutually-beneficial relationship unless you make a concerted effort to stay in touch. Honor your promises, do what you said you would do, and stay in touch. Sound easy? It is if you develop a system of motivated networking follow-up. Learn how to more effectively follow-up with our program Motivated Networking Follow-Up.
Step #5: Become a master connector. . The “graduate level” work in networking is when you become a master connector. People will look to you as a well connected person. It becomes part of your reputation – a golden asset for you! You will be among the elite who can make great things happen through the people you know and those that know you. Now, you are ready to study networking at a whole new level.
Within this web site, you will find resources, ideas and tools to help you:
- Build more mutually-beneficial networking relationships
- Perfect your pitch so that you can position yourself more effectively and start more conversations
- Create an efficient and easy system of staying in touch with networking contacts, clients, prospects, and even family an friends with Motivating Cards
- Networking tips and resources to enhance your professional networking know-how and results!
- Get my new book Networking Ahead for Business: The Best Vehicle to Get More Clients, Make More Friends and Create More Opportunities for Yourself and Others (Kiwi Publishing)
Improve your networking skills and confidence NOW!
Digital download your copy of our networking skills training audio CD programs. Three different programs now available!
- Perfect Your Pitch
- Motivated Networking Follow-Up
- Ten Hot Networking Tips from Kathy McAfee and Mark Shepard
Contact Kathy McAfee, America’s Marketing Motivator at (860) 408-0033 or email her at Kathy@MarketingMotivator.net