Networking: Is Your Approach Too Self-Centered?
It's a classic mistake by networkers: their approach is focused on their own needs rather than on the needs of their contacts.
Fortunately, a popular new book by Bonnie Lowe makes it easy to solve this problem. The book, "Networkaholics Revealed! True Confessions From People Who Networked Their Way to Success (And How You Can Do the Same)," provides strategies and success stories from 49 master networkers.
Many of those strategies focus on how networkers can benefit from being selfless instead of selfish.
The goal is happier contacts, which ultimately translates into long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.
"It's natural for people to look out for their own self interests when they start any important activity," Lowe said. "So many people focus their networking efforts on obtaining things they want (more leads, referrals, sales and business).
"But the best networkers know this is a huge mistake. While those desired outcomes are shared by all networkers, people who put others' needs before their own will reap far greater rewards."
According to Lowe, the first and most important step when striving to build a meaningful network is to consciously suspend your self interest.
Then follow these three steps:
1. Ask yourself, "How can I help them?" (instead of "How can they help me?"). Give a lot of thought to what you can offer them, such as:
"If you can do any of those three things, you immediately have value," said Chip Tarver, author of First Contact Secrets. "If you have value in a stranger's eyes, he/she will think you're worth getting to know. If you don't have value, why would they care about you? Your goal should be to help others. If your only goal is to help yourself, you're not going to be much of a networker, because you'll become known as a 'taker,' not a 'giver.' Givers have the greatest networks and they typically give out of a heart of giving, not out of selfishness to enrich themselves."
Dr. Harlan Kilstein, CEO of Overnight Copy, offers this strategy: "The best thing you can do, well before you meet with people, is find out about them, their businesses, their products, etc. Give them positive feedback. Most importantly, find out what you can do for them. That's the true definition of networking."
Ken McCarthy, Founder of Amacord, Inc., said, "Never look at people as a means to an end. I know a lot of people do that and become successful that way, but they flame out as people around them realize, 'This guy is totally in it for himself; he doesn't care about me.' People figure that out eventually. But if you offer service and are truly helpful to someone, then all doors open to you."
2. Be kind.
"One of my favorite bumper stickers is 'Practice Random Acts of Kindness,'" Lowe said. "That applies perfectly to networking."
Helena Bouchez, Owner of Lenalinks Creative Technical Writing & Consulting, said, "Acts of kindness have tremendous impact and create instant rapport. People do not expect it. You become top-of-mind for the person you help. It's not a linear process. All help given comes back multiplied ? but not necessarily from the person you helped! A lot of people don't understand this and get very fixated on 'score keeping' and extracting something from the person they gave something to. That's not how it works. Generosity creates a positive vibe, and is a magnet for good situations."
3. Be patient.
Some benefits of your generosity will be immediate, but not all.
David Garfinkel, Founder of World Copywriting Institute, suggests, "Take a long-term view about 'getting yours.' Things can happen in a flash, but often you'll help someone and years later, just when you need it, people in your network will be there for you in ways you never could have anticipated."
"All business is ultimately about people and relationships," said Lowe. "We all feel better doing business with people we like. When you are generous to others and genuinely care about helping them, they will naturally like you and want to help you in turn."
Giving first also invokes the universal law of reciprocity. In other words, if you do something for someone else, that person feels obliged to return the favor and do something for you.
The end result of all this generosity? Long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships!
Bonnie Lowe is author of the popular book, "Networkaholics Revealed! True Confessions From People Who Networked Their Way to Success (And How You Can Do the Same)." For more information about this helpful networking resource, go to http://www.Networkaholics-Revealed.com
Small File Box With Resumes to Help Customers
I bet you have not thought about it much, but there are many ways you can help your customers in their daily lives. If you have a customer who just got laid off from their job, tell them you will be glad to take a few of their resumes and put them in a file box and when Corporate Executives come into the store you will be sure to put a good word in for them. Many years ago I use to drive from company to company to wash cars. Sometimes companies were hiring and sometimes laying off or closing. It was easy to put a small box behind the seat of my work truck and sense most of those who gave me their resumes were customers. I helped them and maintained a customer, because once they got a new job they could resume my mobile car wash services. It sure made people happy. I use to laugh at that, but I placed so many people over the years in jobs and they were so grateful they always referred so many new customers to me. As business owners we know thousands of people and we understand networking, use this skill to keep your customers gainfully employed so they can continue to patronize you. When you see someone out looking for a job, get their resume and keep it in a small file box behind your seat. Label ten folders with categories such as:
Why Cant I Start A Conversation With You?
One out of every ten Americans has a fear of talking to strangers. When you enter a room full of new faces, to start these conversations seems like an impossible task. You wait and wait and hope to God someone else says hello first, but the apprehensive silence persists. Then nobody talks to anybody.
Work that Room, Baby!
Networking, schmoozing, making connections. Call it what you want, it's something that is a necessity if you want to do business today. Many of us either love it or hate it. Personally, I wasn't too fond of it in the past. Although I'm a outgoing person, I just hated starting conversations with people I had no idea what to say to. Oh yes, my friends reading this will laugh out loud. "Yeah right, Simone, shy? She can talk anyone under the table!" Ha ha, very funny, but that is beside the point. Many folks, even extroverts, avoid networking for the simple fact that they don't want to talk to strangers. Some feel that they don't have anything to offer, or don't feel like going to a pick up joint disguised as a networking event. Yeah, you know the ones. I actually went to one last week and I was asking where the 'networking' was as I looked at the dance floor full of executives doing the electric slide (I kid you not! The electric slide!) I thought, "Darn! Foiled again!" Hey, we all love to have fun, but if it's a party, just say it's a party! Come on!
Networking to a New Life
Research shows that talking to strangers -- not people in your comfort zone -- is the single most powerful key to a creative career and business move. Yet many people resist. Sometimes they don't understand the concept of networking. At other times, they set impossible goals. Here are some guidelines for network for your second career, home or life.
Are You Leveraging Your Business Network?
Just yesterday I received an email from a colleague telling me her husband had been laid off from yet another corporate job. Will the downsizing ever stop? I doubt it. Most large corporations focus purely on the bottom line and employees are the biggest expense.
Talk Isnt Cheap
The most successful organizations have good communication skills. Survey after survey bears this out. Poor communication skills are often cited in employee surveys as a reason for poor morale and performance.
A value-added network can be achieved through explicit actions to develop, expand, and promote trusted relationships. One successful example is Thomas Powers, the founder and chairman of ecademy, one of the largest UK-based business networks. His passion and commitment to networking compares to none; he is ranked among the top business networkers in the world. Ecademy's philosophy is "Winning by Sharing", a theme of paramount importance. Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas, of Power Networking, define networking as: "Networking is making links from people we know to people they know, in an organized way, for a specific purpose, while remaining committed to doing our part, expecting nothing in return."
Successful networking requires the understanding from the get-go that it is about what we can do for each other. Networking requires time, patience, and a commitment to helping others. Honest networking is not just meeting as many people as you can with the intent of citing a "mini-commercial" about what you need. No room for selfishness here; networking requires showing an interest in others that will help build credibility and trust -- establishing a real relationship.
The Secrets of Effective Networking
Before we talk about specific networking tips I want to addressa critical aspect of networking that is often overlooked. Sometimes we are so eager to network that we don't stop toconsider whether or not we are investing our energy in theright places.
Ask for What YOU Want and Gain More Business
Why ask others for help and what do you gain from it?
Five Best Ways To Build A Network
I have been working from home on the internet for over 3 years now. 18 months of that was spent trying out various different programs trying to find things that would work for me and this done nothing more than cost me thousands of dollars and also caused me to neglect my family friends and my health, as a result I then took a break from internet marketing and got my life in order.
How to Announce a New Product
How can the introduction of new products affect the way I network at meetings?
How to Organize a Successful Bad Sweater Party
"Hey Scott, would you like to go to a Bad Sweater Party this weekend?"
When Gifts Say More
What's a gift mean? If you're like me, you probably focus on the giving and the getting.
Social Networking: A Link To Like Minds
Not all dot-com dreams died when the Internet stock bubble burst.
Time to Hire a Professional Networker?
It used to be that people said that there was 6 degrees of separation between everyone. Many people know that Kevin Bacon game that people play to prove it. They name a film that such and such played on with Kevin, who worked with your cousins, friends' uncles' gardener, and BOOM.. there you have it! Someone who you know who knows someone who knows Kevin Bacon! There is also the Hollywood version that makes a point to prove that everyone in Hollywood is connect to Kevin Bacon through any amount of projects that they'd worked on. You get the point!
How many leads do you pass on?
Defining a Quality Networking Group
When it comes to quality, how do you choose the group that matches your expectations?
How to Shmooze
Definition: talk idly or casually in a friendly wayValue: priceless
Network Your Way to Success, and Remember: Its Not About You!
Quote of the week
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