Networking is about connection, collaboration, teamwork, synergy, enrichment, and bonding. It comes from the position of power, abundance, cooperation, and reciprocal help―the more you give, the more you get. The list is endless. Networking (in person and online) can help you move ahead or remain comfortable where you are. It can introduce you to allies you didn’t know you had, and it can help your business gain momentum and enhance your personal growth.
A prospector pans for gold until one day he finally discovers gold among all the small rocks and debris. This is how networking works. You are prospecting for your networking nuggets of gold. These nuggets can come in the form of connecting people, receiving helpful information or generating a business lead. To make the process work, you must keep panning and occasionally change venues (streams). While some in person and online streams consistently fill your needs, others you only discover when you stumble onto the opportunity. Where would we be today if the miners had given up and stopped panning after each disappointment? Keep panning!
There are many variables to the prospecting process, whether internal or external, that allow you to find new opportunities. They are all broken down and explained in detail in this chapter.
The skill of mingling is the prerequisite to networking success! You cannot truly network unless you can walk into a room and work the room to meet others as you engage in substantive conversation. If mingle phobia is your biggest barrier, the best way to accomplish this is with a strategy. Take the awkwardness out of attending networking events by engaging a model that achieves your goals.
This chapter describes a three-step strategy: (1) approach, (2) engage, (3) depart. It is all about looking and feeling confident, making yourself known, and being memorable in a positive way. It also shares a technique on how to juggle a handshake, hors d’oeuvres, and beverage all in one smooth move.
Networking drives your career! Consider the steps you take to cultivate a flower garden. You don’t just plant the seeds and then hover over them. Nor do you throw out a bunch of seeds and hope for all of them to sprout and grow. You create the conditions for their growth and take pleasure in watching them blossom. Then you continue to nurture them. Just as there is no such thing as one generic flower, there is no such thing as one generic network or networker. This is how you should approach networking.
This chapter guides you in learning how to focus your networking efforts, identify different personal styles of networking, and handle those “pet peeve” moments.
Find the right platform for your usage and you are on your way! Social media is all about communicating by the written word. Therefore, do not underestimate the power of first impression “grammar.” Social media is powerful because it can open the door to real-life encounters or accomplish things when distance is the barrier. Learn everything about your social media options and then select the ones that make the most sense for you. Then, learn how to use them effectively and protect your reputation in the process.
Your social media profile is key! It’s your online identity and gives the visitor an overview of your persona, experience, and background.
Seek out a network pro “mentor” and learn how they developed their connecting skills. Networking venues (offline or online) do not just happen. They are planned by dedicated and passionate people. This is how networking truly works! No matter how much time goes by, you pull people forward when the opportunity presents itself. You never forget the people who helped you, and you always keep them in mind for opportunities. It really is about paying it forward.
The pros highlighted in this chapter will take you step-by-step through their process to create a successful social media or in-person networking strategy.
Too often you can forget
or in a moment of frustration overlook
how valuable your networking efforts have become.
A networking chart to help you reflect and
record your progress is outlined in the final section of the book.