Be Happy At Work-Build a Powerful Network

To be happy at work you will need support from many people.  Some, myself included when I started my business, would like to believe we can do it all by ourselves.  Whether you work for yourself or for someone else knowing who to call when you need help is really important.  If you wait until you need the help it will be too late, so the sooner you begin to establish your own network the sooner you will feel confident that you can manage whatever comes your way.  Networking isn’t just exchanging business cards. The objective is to really form valuable relationships.

 

  1. Select a group that makes sense for you and your job or business.

Does the group attract your potential customers? Does it put you in contact with your strategic partners? Does it help you stay current in your field? Could you learn new skills that will help you find work or business? Meetings that involve potential customers or strategic partners get you in touch with your target market. Meetings that teach you new skills or keep you up to date can get you in touch with mentors and peers.  No one group will provide you access to everything you need but with limited time pick the one that offers you the most.

  1. Become an active member.

Once you decide on a group to join, become an active member so others will get to know you and you will get to know them. Meeting someone once is just the beginning. You want to cultivate deeper relationships. Working on committees with a variety of members will allow you to experience what they have to offer you and what you can offer them.  Once you find a person with whom you can have a good working relationship, set up a meeting to discuss what you might do for each other.

  1. Arrive at the meeting early and stay late.

Most meetings have some sort of a program planned.  Networking occurs before and after the meeting. It is easier to start up a conversation with someone if there only a few people there so arrive early.  Entering a room with many people all grouped together can be overwhelming.  Stay after the meeting to continue the conversation with the people you met in the beginning or to engage with the program speaker(s).  They can become part of your network too.

  1. Help others.

Remember you are there to build relationships.  This is not a place to make a sales pitch.  Listen to what others say about themselves.  Look for opportunities to offer your support.  Be prepared to help others.  When you need help others will be willing to help you. Your openness is felt and will be appreciated.

  1. Listen more and talk less.

Be interested in other people, what they do and what their goals are.  Ask people questions and get them talking about themselves and their businesses. Find out what they are struggling with or what they are celebrating. As Epictetus said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”.

  1. Make notes on the back of the business cards you receive.

If you exchange business cards with someone, write down the date of the meeting and what the event was on the back of the card. Jot down a couple of notes about your conversation.  This will help you to remember who they are and what you spoke about.  Use this information when you send them a note or add them to your LinkedIn contacts.

  1. Follow up with a personal note.

Write a personal note to those you meet and add them to your mailing list, contact manager and/or spreadsheet. To keep the connection mail them an update, tip, or article periodically. If you have a regular blog or newsletter, ask permission to mail them regularly and describe what your newsletter or blog is about. Ask them to connect through LinkedIn.

  1. Set goals for the event.

Before you go to the event, ask yourself what you hope to gain by going.  Set some goals for the networking event. Who do you want to meet? How many contacts would you like to make? What did you want to learn?  If you are going to spend the time, be sure you get what you went for.

  1. Identify people in the group you want to meet.

Try to talk to someone who has been to the group meeting before so you are able to Identify the movers and the shakers in the group. These are the people who know everyone else and can introduce you to others.  Get an attendees list before you go to identify who you want to meet. Call the person you talked to and ask to be introduced to specific people.

  1. Form relationships.

People are not part of your network until you have a relationship with them. Some of those you meet you will want to stay connected with through email and regular mail. Others you want to make an appointment with to talk to them either by phone or in person. It is up to you to decide who you want to see regularly in your network.  See some for coffee, others for golf or some other social activity, and still a few others may have the potential to do a joint venture or some other business activity with you.  Having an active thriving network provides you with clients, marketing opportunities, joint ventures and even some friendships.

Become a Powerful Networker

Find it difficult to network with people?  A coach can help.  Explore what your fear of networking is and then how to overcome that fear.  Sometimes just talking about your difficulty can help you to see it for what it is.  I am a good listener and I ask powerful questions that help you to find solutions to overcome your own fears.  If you want to set up some time to discuss this with me, call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at asparker@asparker.com.

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