HAVING A NETWORK IS MANDATORY
FOR MAKING IT IN THE MILLENNIUM
People have relied on whom
they know for information or referrals since the beginning of time. We have
depended on this exchange of shared resources, time immemorial.Networking is
defined by Webster's Unabridged Encyclopedia Dictionary as "the act or process
of informally sharing information or support, especially among members of a
professional group." "Networking is a reciprocal process, and exchange of ideas,
leads, and suggestions that support both our professional and our personal lives."
There is also a spirit of sharing that transcends the information shared. The
best networkers reflect that spirit with a genuine joy in their "giving." We
all have networks we were born into, went to school with, live in neighborhoods
and work with. Savvy networkers understand that networking is a process of communication
which works for those who appreciate the path and process as well as the destination.
One cannot stress enough just how important it is to develop and finely hone
follow-up skills. There is no process of networking, no sharing of information,
resource nor referral that occurs without it.
HERE ARE SOME SECRETS
TO SAVVY NETWORKING:
- Follow-up is a basic
tenet of life.
Behaviors and actions support words; the lack of either subverts them. We
must T.A.P. into our networks, being Timely and Appropriately Persistent in
our follow-up or we will fail to establish and increase our base of contacts.
That is networking in a nutshell!
People who have resources are resourceful. People who are willing to open
their Rolodex or contact management program, pick up a phone, call on their
contacts, and ask for help and solutions, and who offer leads, information,
and ideas, are perceived as powerful and smart. The closest thing to knowing
something is to know where and how to find it.
- Acknowledge "gifts" given
to you as well as leads, ideas, advice and time.
Powerful people have linkages that are plentiful, diverse, and expansive -
and are able to get things done because of those linkages. President Clinton's
superb and savvy networking skills cannot be denied. He was elected because
of his network! What are the special networking skills of the masters:
They meet people for the first time and look them right in the eye
and makes them feel comfortable.
Ask a question and listen intently and let you know they are talking
Stay in contact and are very loyal to their friends. If something crosses
their desks that might be of interest, they will send it on.
Use laughter and are equally at ease with both men and women.
Embrace people, not just the 'right' people.
Makes the connection, even if they just share a glance.
Exude confidence, yet appeal to the most average person.
But, how do we become a person with whom people want to talk, to work, to
collaborate or to spend personal or professional time and energy? We must
become savvy people who are aware of the unwritten rules for this process
called networking. One must understand the politics of markers and owing chits.
- Networking is an enrichment
program, not an entitlement program. Too many people feel that under the
"guise of networking" they are to be given leads, referrals and information
that they have not earned. We earn these leads by establishing communication
- We must reciprocate.
- Treat people with respect,
courtesy, integrity, truth and honor. People will do business with people
they know, like and trust. People enjoy giving leads to others who have a
track record and with whom there is a connection! We establish these connections
by meeting and mingling and communicating.
- Make it is easy to work
you. Patricia Fripp has shared with us that one of the ways to "get ahead
of the crowd" is to do that.
- Just say "NO" to no-win
networking. Our networks are too precious to include people who aren't appropriate,
courteous nor competent.
- Stay in touch with people
when we need nothing from them.
- Have fun and be of good
humor, which is NEVER at the expense of others.
- Pay attention and incorporate
the rules - written and unwritten.
If we understand that savvy
networkers are soft-sell and establish the relationship in networks, we will
be shining stars of the business community, as well as in our personal endeavors.Savvy
networkers share a skill with successful leaders: they are aware of their impact
on others, and behave accordingly. And, they are aware of the "Favorbank": its
deposits, withdrawals and accrued interest.
Rather than view "networking"
as a time waster, savvy networkers see it as an investment, which may pay off
for a "designated receiver."Someone who had been of immense help to me in the
early stages of my business asked me if I could help her daughter who had graduated
from law school. It was my great pleasure to return my friend's assistance and
support by helping her daughter. And, it relieved her of having to appear as
a nagging parent.
By the same token, we get
to call in favors to help our friends, colleagues, relatives and cronies.Networking
has been the way of the world. We just gave it a new term. It used to be called
. . . helping!