following networking guidelines will help you gain important insight
in networking effectively. According to Tim Connor, of T R Training
Associates, Ann Arbor, MI., who has done extensive research in the
area of effective networking, there are some basic rules you must
follow if you are going to be successful in networking.
LEARN TO LIKE
YOURSELF. You must like yourself. Every positive relationship,
including all types of networks, begins with a healthy self image.
MAKE THE FIRST
MOVE. In any encounter, someone must initiate the relationship.
BE WILLING TO BE
VULNERABLE. Very few people are willing to put themselves on the line
-- to be real. One of the best ways to get others to shed their
costumes and masks is to drop your's first.
BE WILLING TO
RISK. All of life involves risk. In probing a potential network for
contacts, information, or common interests, there is the potential
LEARN TO OVERCOME
THE FEAR OF REJECTION. The fear of rejection is one of the major
causes of failure in selling, relationships, and business. We all
have a fundamental need to be liked, accepted, and loved.
PUT YOUR ENERGY
INTO YOUR POSITIVE CONTACTS. If you think that everyone you meet
likes you, you have another problem. It is unreasonable to be
accepted by everyone you meet, regardless of the circumstances.
Nurture those relationships where there is genuine and mutual
respect, liking, and caring.
TO CREATE A
POSITIVE FIRST IMPRESSION: BE -- DON'T ACT. What do you look for in
someone you meet for the first time? What qualities make you feel
comfortable and create a willingness to get to know this person? Why
not develop a list of all the qualities in other people you like,
then rate yourself on those same qualities.
JUDGE NOT THAT YOU
MIGHT BE JUDGED. Each of us has something to offer each other and the
world. Learn to accept differences as normal. Just because the other
person is not like you, it doesn't give you the right to judge.
NETWORKING IS NOT
A ONE WAY STREET. The desire to grow, learn, and share is the basis
of all networking. But to find the areas, with each person you meet
that can benefit one of you in the relationship, requires some
probing, asking, and learning about each other; your needs,
interests, and problems. To successfully accomplish this step
requires a two-day dialogue.
EVERYONE YOU MEET
KNOWS SOMEONE YOU KNOW OR SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP. Everyone you know
knows someone that you know. It just depends on how far back you have
to go to find the common contact. The chances of improving the number
of common contacts increase with a few basic factors: Are you in a
common business or similar organization? Do you operate in the same
geographic area, have any common interests, similar problems or
goals, or face similar opportunities? These are just a few ideas for openers.
LISTEN TO YOUR
WORLD - YOU MAY LEARN SOMETHING. Few people really listen. We are
becoming a nation of talkers. Everyone needs someone to listen to
them and everyone has something worthwhile to say.
MEETINGS IS NOT A NUMBERS GAME. Networking can take place anywhere;
on the street, in elevators, in coffee shops, in airplanes, and in
business meetings. However, some environments are more conducive to
building a productive network than others. Business meetings fall
into this category.
effective network contact takes time, respect, and interest. Too many
people jump from person to person in a matter of seconds. You know
who I mean. They pounce on you by saying, "Who do you know
that...", and they are gone. In my opinion, this isn't
networking, this is rude behavior.
LEARN TO SEPARATE
BUSINESS AND SOCIAL NETWORKING. Networking at a special event can be
just as productive and beneficial as at a business meeting. In a
social setting, the initial networking steps should be taken
establishing common ground, interests, etc. Many of the details
should be discussed later by phone, or at a future non- social
meeting. Learn to separate business from pleasure in this
environment. The follow-up in this situation is where the bulk of
information should be gained.
CONVERSATION IS AN ONGOING GIVE AND TAKE. Starting a conversation can
be an easy or a frightening experience. The best way I have found is
to either ask an open ended positive question related to the
environment or person or make a positive statement about the
environment or person. Then follow it up with an open ended question
requesting an opinion, feeling, or response from the other person
about the environment, an activity, or situation at hand. The rest is easy.
BUSINESS CARDS ARE
A TOOL, BUT THEY MUST BE USED PROPERLY. Most business cards end up in
the trash. Many times people exchanging cards believe that the other
person is saving their card. I always ask the other person, "Why
would you like it?" I don't do it in a smart manner, I am
genuinely interested in their reason for asking. This usually starts
Final thoughts -
think about all the people who you know that you met through other
people. Think about all the benefits you have gained through this
matrix of contacts. Positive networking is like a chain letter. You
can't just be a taker, you must be a giver, too. Happy networking!