Networking is finding the right people with the right resources and having them help you get the word out.
Right people + Right resources = Success
By yourself, you are nowhere near as effective as when you have a network of contacts and friends working together to help promote you or your new venture. Networking is as easy as making new friends. If you can make new friends, then you can network. But making new friends does take work. It’s not magic.
How do we do this? Let’s break it down into 3 important sections:
- Identify your value
- Build your network
- Leverage your network
IDENTIFY YOUR VALUE
Step 1: Make Yourself Valuable by Helping Others
Make it a point to provide helpful information / advice / support to at least one person each day. This is a major stumbling block for people because of the personal investment it requires, but once you realize the multiplier effect that’s attached to each of your efforts, you will be surprised at why more people aren’t doing this.
Just help others. Quite often you’ll hear people voicing their concerns in public forums or even on twitter. If it takes a few minutes of your time to point them in the right direction, do it right there and then.
Summary: You have to prove your value to people who are vastly more influential than you – this translates into building your own worth by playing with the smaller fish first. It’s a step-by-step process.
BUILD YOUR NETWORK
The basis of an effective network is a steady stream of new contacts – a network doesn’t have any impact unless there are enough people to make a difference.
Step 2: Find New Friends
This step will stump you, but in fact it’s the easiest of them all – simply flock to those places where people of similar interests are hanging out, and make a point to participate in the general discussion.
If you’re naturally outgoing, you’ll find it easier to get in touch with and contact new people. If you don’t have any hang-ups towards helping others for free, then you’ll be one step ahead when it comes to sowing the seeds of a new relationship.
Step 3: Identify Powerful Contacts
Who in your circle has an influential, authoritative voice? Think about it: When they talk, people listen. When they point, people follow. Your end game is to have people like this on your side, so that they point to you and people, traffic and revenue start flowing in your direction.
1) Have power and leverage
2) Are smart and capable
3) Are fair in their online relationships.
Summary: The habit of making new friends and helping others without asking for anything upfront is one that takes time to cultivate and your adoption of this habit depends on how you treat others.
LEVERAGE YOUR NETWORK
Step 4: the Art of Following Up
Each time you ask your network for their help, follow up by thanking them for their input, giving them as much credit as possible and reciprocating the favor when asked for. Learn what your contacts value and when following up, reciprocate in a way that they will appreciate the most.
As a management student, I personally work for building up the network from all other prestigious B-Schools in India. It helps me to know about what is going on in other campuses like placements and internships. I also got to know about companies that visit other campuses, helping me keep track of job opportunities. Networking helped me in having a multiplier effect.
Step 5: Invest in Others
Also invest in others. As they grow and build up their resources and their own networks, your own network will be growing as well thanks to their efforts.
By building up a social “backbone” of good friends in high-places, you’ll be able to execute your plans a lot faster, and realize your network leverages a lot quicker.
You cannot expect to build A-list contacts overnight. Building a network of useful contacts takes time: relationships are cultivated and trust is built through reciprocal actions.
If you remove unrealistic expectations and instead focus on the basic principles, you can build large, influential networks over time.
- Networking Tips for Shy People (careerworksfoxvalley.wordpress.com)
- Get More Out of Networking Events (jtwomarketing.wordpress.com)
- 5 Business Networking Errors to Avoid (managebetternow.com)