I’m adding a new category on this blog today – Networking!
I’ve been networking regularly or semi-regularly for 15 years. I really learned how to be more effective networking in December, 2000. If you are not “into” networking please keep in mind that that is a choice. I believe not networking is a pretty bad choice. There are exceptions. Joe Eszterhas, who has written very successful screenplays, says that you need to focus on your craft or some similar word. But he is very successful already. He has an agent who I’m sure is networking on his behalf.
People who are incredibly successful at this point when you do not have the same level of success may have different habits. Did NOT networking get Joe Ezsterhas where he is? He is definitely talented and bold, but there must have been a time when he had to network more than he does now. Again, at the very least, he must have had an agent networking for him.
Your habits may need to be different than his habits at this point in your life. At least ONE of them. Does this make sense?
Warren Buffett says, “Put all your eggs in one basket and then WATCH that basket!” That’s great if you’re already incredibly wealthy. Are you incredibly wealthy? I would like to suggest that just like with Joe Eszterhas, Warren Buffett is at a different place in his life than you or I are right now. Right now I’ll bet a better strategy would be for you to diversify if you are making investments.
But this is not about investments. It’s about networking. You need to meet people face-to-face or at least over the phone or Skype.
Email-only relationships that are very productive in moving your career or job or aspirations forward are rare. Steven King did a musical collaboration with someone whose name I should remember and don’t right now. They collaborated through email and sent files back and forth.
While I don’t know everything about everybody, this is the ONLY case of a truly PRODUCTIVE email-only relationship of which I have ever heard.
I know the name of the musician will come to me. Perhaps not before I finish this post…
You need to care about other’s success in order to network most effectively. Really.
Is it all about you when you meet someone?
You might not like to hear this, but there is really something to: What’s In It For Me?
So, when you meet someone you want to be interested in what their goals are.
Actually, if they have learned to network effectively, you can be interested in one thing to be of help to them.
What’s that one thing? What cuts to the chase?
Here’s the question:
What do you need next?
What do you need next most?
When you can answer that for someone else, you can find out quickly whether or not they know someone who can be of help to you.
OF COURSE, you want to be able to ask that question of them.
It’s not all about making people do for you.
I’ve seen some people online say, “If there’s ever anything I can help you with, please let me know.”
That’s great. If it’s really true. And I hope those you “meet” or meet are completely sincere when they say that.
BUT, what some of them actually mean is…
You see my profile. You see what I do. If you would like me to help you through the services that I provide, please contact me.
I will be happy to help you within that context and only within that context.
Many (not all) of these people are not offering to network with you and for you.
How do I network?
If you let me know “What you need next,” I keep you in mind when I see other people so I can say, “Bill, you know, I think you ought to meet Anya because she’s doing something that you might be able to help with.” See the difference?
AND, before I do that, when you’ve told me what you need next most, I will have thought of who I know so that AT THAT MOMENT I can connect you with someone if I do.
If I don’t have the contact information right there, I will get back to you with it, BUT, I prefer to introduce you in a three-way call.
THAT, my friends, is networking.
It’s not all there is too it, but it’s a GREAT start.
If I simply hand you someone’s contact information and let you call them or take yours and give it to the other person, it’s not really a warm introduction.
When I introduce you face-to-face or over the phone, we can all have a conversation or I can leave the conversation to the two of you after a little bit.
When you network in this way, wise people will want to network with you.
Think of being in a room of people where everyone is coming up to you saying (SINCERELY) “How can I help you? Who do you need to meet?”
If you can’t get done what you want to get done with a bunch of people like that, then you need clarity about what your next step is or where you are going.
I know people that can help with that, too. I might be one of them!
It’s important to give credit where credit is due. I learned about more effective networking through people like Janet Honek, Fran Cannon, Robert Johnson and people at what is now called CEO Space. But you can do that type of networking anywhere.
Zig Ziglar said:
If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.
If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.
Come network with me! (NO LURKERS!!) 🙂
Or Simply Contact Me!