Building A Strong Network Provides Opportunity
The Big Q’s: Why are some people more successful than the others; why do some people always seem to get better deals, more sales, bigger promotions or live a better life; are they highly qualified, highly skilled or just offering a better product?
Most will attribute their success story to good luck or the result of being in the right place at the right time.
The Big A: Highly accomplished people are regular people who possess highly refined networking skills. They achieve extraordinary results by continuing to connect with new people, cultivating emerging relationships and leveraging their networks.
I have learned that there are 2 Key principles successful people embody in their daily lives.
1. they surround themselves with like-minded people they want to work with, people who share the same values and passion.
2. they believe in the law of reciprocity, the spiritual ideal common to the world’s great moral systems, that is the concept of gaining through giving, aka the Golden Rule.
Building connections with people provides the opportunity to strengthen your network. You never know who you will meet, who will refer you, introduce you or employ you.
Here are 3 ways to grow your personal network, as follows:
1. Networking events: today there are many networking events catering to everyone from graduates and job seekers to businessmen and industry leaders around the world.
The Key is identifying which networks are frequented by the kind of people you want to connect with.
Most people may find it difficult to walk up to a stranger and start a conversation. What is super about networking events is that the people who attend are there for the same purpose, which is to connect with others making it easier to break the ice.
There are also solid resources online providing tips on the Art of Networking.
2. Online: technological advancements have made it easier for people to express themselves and relay news through social media platforms. The idea is not to replace face-to-face opportunities with online networks, but to use both and compliment each other. It is the best-yet way to connect across vast distances.
3. Think outside the box: do not restrict yourself to networking events and social media. You can meet new people just about anywhere and any place you can think of. It is about engaging with people with the same intention.
Starting a conversation with a complete stranger to build a relationship is a sophisticated art and there are successful people who have mastered this.
Building social capital, once a connection is made there are rules to follow which will help you grow your network, as follows:
1. Be nice: professional etiquette, politeness and authenticity is the Key here.
2. Be interested and not interesting: show an interest in what the other person is saying. Keep conversations active by listening and responding physically.
3. Get to know someone: this is the 1st step and will help you achieve your goals. Remember birthdays, anniversaries etc. and stay connected with the person.
4. Build a reputation: in a professional setting, people prefer to build business relationships with people they see as being valuable. Think about what you have to offer your network in terms of insight, information, research or other things they would want to know about.
5. Be visible: keep your network posted on your whereabouts. Communicate with people you want to be in touch with via email, blogging, social networking and in-person.
An unmanaged network like not having a network.
Networks need to be developed and maintained in order to drive value.
Below are 3 way you can get more out of your network, as follows:
1. Always be willing to help: by helping people in your network get stronger, they may be in a better position to be able to help you in the future. According to the law of reciprocity, people may be more motivated to return the favor. Share your expertise and ideas. Promote your network’s work and accomplishments.
Business transactions are always mutually beneficial, so be a connector. A person buys a product or service because it will benefit him/her in some way, while the other is selling a product to earn profits. If you connect 2 people you think who would benefit from knowing each other, you are helping them and growing your network.
2. Ask for help: fear of rejection and embarrassment often restricts people from seeking help. Once you learn to overcome this fear, you become stronger in your networking. Building the right network and nurturing the relationships built enables the network to function effectively.
3. Invest time and think from a long term perspective: building a network is a gradual process, which most often does not lead to immediate results. Keep up with contacts by communicating with them on a regular basis. Connections open doors but relationships close deals. Networking is not just about exchanging business cards, it’s about doing business. Networking is most valuable when long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships are formed.
The Key reason to grow a personal network is to create a de facto management team, a group of experts and contacts who can advise you on planning and growing your business, and crisis management.
The experts agree that you should develop your sources (network) before you need them.
Have a terrific weekend.