I do not think there is a day where someone does not call, email or ask me in person – HOW CAN I BE A BETTER NETWORKER? Networking is the official BUZZ WORD and everyone seems to think it is the key to success. LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube are a few of the latest business crazes that are creating the millionaires and the billionaires. All are companies that work on the idea of creating a NETWORK of individuals and businessesâ€¦or a way to network without having to do it in person. It is obvious that we understand there is a need for networking, but I can promise you today, that there is more to being a great networker than a Facebook page and an amazing website.
I have found that people and businesses have very little training on HOW TO NETWORK in person. What happens when everybody gets together at company events or the social and association meetings – all of the sudden the panic sets in and fear takes over because people are failing to learn what social skills are necessary for person to person networking. Allow me help you to SEE the total picture, and then give you a few hints about networking and how you can improve the quality of your time away from home and the office. I can best do this by stating what networking is NOT.
It is not going to a meeting with the sole charge of getting business.
It is not about being a taker. There is nothing worse than the person who says I have been a member of this club, group, association or fellowship for months and I am yet to make a single dollar. I place that idea right beside the person who joins a particular church with the idea of making business contacts verses serving the needs of others and worshiping God. Self-centered people will never be good networkers.
- Networking is about finding a group of individuals who share a common goal, and will invest in working together to help the entire group improve.
- Networking is about sharing what you are passionate about and learning from others about their passions, concerns and goals.
- Networking is about sharing something you have learned with someone else, but it is not ALL ABOUT YOU.
I have been blessed to know some people that I would say are amazing networkers and I can assure you that every one of them is a special person that wants others to succeed. Great networks have some particular traits and talents that make them good networkers.
- They are sincere and have a high level of integrity.
- They work hard and are informed about their business and their passions. They are confident – not arrogant.
- They are not self-centered and can listen just as well as they can speak.
- They enjoy helping others succeed, and look for opportunities to serve others more than being served by others.
- They do not expect a payback for every time they help someone. The advice they share is simply to share it is not conditional.
Finally, they are a light in a dark room!!!
This is perhaps the best trait of networking. They understand that people are very visual and that we form opinions based on what we see. Great networkers are usually very neat and “put together.” They always seem to have a smile and positive attitude. A colleague of mine said it well when she said, “They are comfortable in their own skin.”
This means they know that their fashion, style and complete image is a TOOL that attracts people. When they walk into a room, their visual message makes others say, “Who is that, What do they do, Should I meet them?”
They attract people to themselves, but best of all when people do walk up and meet them, they are gracious, excited about life and they see opportunities where others see a failure. Their image and Personal and Professional Brand says something to you -the words, character and attitude reinforce what you see.
So in a recap, networking is a visual skill, an educated skill and one that everyone should learn. If you want to be a great networker, become active in things that you are passionate about, share ideas that benefit others, do not go out with the idea of making money and BE a LIGHT ON THE HILL. Let your visual image, your personal character and your humble heart be the calling card that says, COME AND MEET ME or as I said earlier, all those traits to stimulate the questions in others. Who is that, What do they do, Should I meet them? You should strive to become a great networker and bring added value to the groups and associations you join.
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