Everyone around me keeps asking, “How to Network”? or more precisely, “How to do networking”? Today, I will go forward and look at networking from a completely different perspective.
Why you need networking?
We all know that if you have a good network i.e. if you know the right people, then life would be all the more happy and prosperous. This is quite evident, just look at the other two alternatives. Knowing wrong people will not make your life any simpler, and living in isolation is just anti-human (man is a social animal after all).
Now the real places where networking comes in handy is when you need a job, or want to get a new business going. In time, you will need partners and people having keys to the back door.
I mean think about it. We live in an era of globalization. Our society is more interconnected than ever. People only break routine after getting a second opinion from people they know and trust.
What makes you think that someone is going to read your new book, or watch your new movies, or buy your new CDs? Would you even consider spending money and time on new things that have no one to back them up? So you NEED a network!
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Now good places to start networking would be attending networking events or on social network sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
But you are going to find plenty of people talking rubbish of networking events, calling it a waste of time. There are also many nightmarish stories out there on one’s experience about networking. There are also people who are going to tell you about how they benefited from networking.
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It seems that networking is basically gambling. You might win, you might lose. Your natural instinct might just tell you to avoid it altogether. But it is just as much as probabilistic as everyday events. As I said before, it is basic socializing. You just need to understand how to do networking properly.
So here are some steps to follow on how to become good at networking:
Now I have been saying “socialize” way too much, and I can’t help it because networking, in its essence, is just that. Smile in your interactions, ask questions about the other person and listen to their answers.
Carefully understand what they are saying and understand if they are valuable to your work. If so, give them your contacts and try to be friends first. You are looking for a potential partner, not a ladder to climb.
Remember, people might want to walk beside you, but they don’t want to lift you and be rewarded with a front seat view of your buttocks.
Articulate what you want and what you can offer
This is how networking is going to differ from socializing. If you visit a networking event most of the people, there are not interested in small talk. They are there to eye out potential business contacts for future ventures.
Address the situation as if you are on a matrimonial site, but for the purpose of business, and there can be many partners. Be clear to yourself about what you have to offer to the table and things you want in return.
Now start the conversation as you would with a potential spouse. Do it in these steps. Ask about their plans; tell them how you can help. Be chivalrous first and then state your plans.
This will give you an idea of whether this person worthy to be your spouse, I mean business contact.
Start of networking with existing contacts
This interconnected society has given us our share of relatives, neighbors, acquaintances. Plus we all have our friends at school and colleges. It is time to get back in touch.
Maybe they can’t be a help directly, but they might know people who can.
Suppose you are X, the writer, and your friend Y is friends with Z, the publisher. It would be quite beneficial to be introduced to Z through Y instead of courting Z all alone.
Prepare an elevator pitch
For those of you out there how doesn’t know what an elevator pitch is, imagine this scenario. You want an audience with some investor for a particular venture you want to take.
You come by his office week after week, but his secretary says, “Mr. Boss ain’t got no time!” So what do you do? Two options, look for alternatives or NEVER GIVE UP!
If you have opted for the later than there will be a probabilistic chance that one day, you just might see Mr. VIP in the office going down or up the elevator. What do you do? Run and get yourself in the elevator with him!
Now you got just 2 minutes. Give a deliverance of your ideas in a compact way to woo Mr. Potential Investor or else you just got him mad and he will call security.
This succinct and persuasive sales pitch is known commonly as an elevator pitch.
I’m not telling you that you are going to expand your network like this but just prepare one. Think of it as a resume for really rare interviews.
After all, you know the saying, “in the end we only regret chances we didn’t take.”
Remember you are “networking” not “tree-branching”
Don’t be selfish. Don’t just go me, me, me. This way you are more likely to create a network of people who will talk ill about you.
You are not trying to form a structure where everybody is working for your success. No! You want a structure of mutual harmony where everybody is contributing and excelling as a team; a professional family if you may.
So be the bigger person here. Ask people how you can help them, and then genuinely try to help them. This way you are making friends, not clients. And in the end, friendship pays, clients don’t.
After you have given, then ask for a favor. If the other doesn’t reciprocate, then find a new connection to build. But be positive and always try to be the bigger person.
Use Online Facilities
We all spend a considerable time of your lives on the internet. Be it playing online games, like chess or pool or doing Facebook or solely reading articles.
Whatever you are doing, we will find people with who you can interact with. While watching YouTube, try and comment on some your favorite YouTuber’s videos. Create a rapport with that person.
This goes for blog owners, websites, or even your opponent on chess.com. Any one you like is worth having an acquaintance with, instead of just staying oblivious from his/her life.
Who knows, how which person can contribute.
Have you ever seen the movie “It’s a wonderful life” starring James Stewart. I am betting you have, and it is the most “wonderful” example of what networking is in its truest essence.
Don’t think about yourself too much. Think about the others. Think about your community and how you can contribute. You will soon realize how others think about your wellbeing.
And do remember-
If you are alone, you will go fast, but if you are together, you will go far!
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