Networking and connecting with others is a mutually beneficial activity where you exchange career related information with another person. Many people feel they are bugging others by asking them for a coffee and to network with them. When you go into this activity realize that while you are the one asking the other person to network, they will benefit from the exchange as well.
The risks are that you put yourself out and can get ignored and rejected. Don't take this personally, you know how busy you are. The other person is probably just as overwhelmed with their busy life and work. Listed below are 8 benefits of networking to entice you to give it a try.
Some of the Benefits of Networking Include the Ability To:
- Gather information,
- Learn from others,
- Increase your skills,
- Provide and gain support,
- Ensure you stay relevant,
- Connect with role models,
- Test your ideas, and
- Increase your knowledge of opportunities to work, learn and build skills.
Some of the Best Practices of Connecting Include:
Benefit Others: Go in with an attitude that you will be of benefit to the other person. Connecting with others is supposed to be mutually beneficial. You can't guarantee that the other person will help you out, but you can ensure that you will help them. If the meeting doesn't benefit you, you may not be motivated to connect with the other person again. If it does benefit you, you will want to meet up again. "The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity." Keith Ferrazi
Start Where You Are: You already have contacts so you can start with those and meet others through these contacts. By setting goals to connect with others who are doing interesting things, are experts in your field, who are tackling similar projects as you or are building organizations, could all help advance your career and process.
Trust is Built in Person: It is good to introduce yourself on Linkedin, however, to deepen the connection it is best to meet face to face. Having a coffee with someone you want to connect with or attending an industry event with someone else is a good way to start to get to know them.
Spend Time with Good Networkers: Spend time with people who are good at giving of themselves since they will likely have a number of people in their network. Make sure you give back just as much as you get whenever you can.
Ask for What You Need: This is an important gift you can give yourself. Ask for what you need after you have been of benefit to the other party. Keith Ferrazi calls this the strategic ask. Don't be afraid to ask for what it is you desire out of the meeting. This could be a contact in a certain company, learning about a skill area, etc.
Extending yourself and connecting with others can be enjoyable and bring benefit and energy to your career. Those with an ongoing and established network are more readily able to get work and information that will be of benefit. This mutually beneficial dance lifts your energy. Try helping others as well, you will feel the positive results. Sometimes the benefits will be returned many fold.
Let Mary-Ann know what gets in the way of your ability to network more effectively.
Ferrazzi, Keith "Never Eat Alone" http://ferrazzigreenlight.com
Sanders, Tim "Love is the Killer App" http://timsanders.com/love-is-the-killer-app/
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