When it comes to building a network that aligns with your goals, I’ll go so far as to say that you are unlikely to reach those goals without a supporting network.
Here are some ways to develop your network:
- Not All Relationships Are Created Equal
The biggest mistake that people make is trying to networking with everyone, i.e. not being smart or strategic in whom they connect with. If your focus is to walk into a room and make sure everyone gets your business card, you might as well stay home.
- You Must Be Someone That Others Want to Have in Their Network
There are people in your network that you are proud to be associated with and would gladly introduce them to others you know. And then there are the others. For example, if you know someone who is always late, never prepared, or is just a constant whiner, how would you feel about recommending her for a job in your company? Believe me, everyone will remember who let her in the door.
- You Must Carefully Cultivate and Manage Your Reputation
What do people say about you when you are not there? If you think no one says anything about you, let me offer you a ride on my unicorn. But part of your ability to build relationships is the buzz about you inside and outside of your professional circles.
- Practice Generous Listening
We’re just generally not good listeners. Too often, we are waiting to talk. What if you could learn to focus not only what the other person is saying, but also on listening for his needs and wants- and for ways you might be able to help. Even if he is saying that he needs to find a good plumber, and you have one, that is a way to help that forms the foundation of a possible relationship.
The cool thing about networking is that once you get the hang of it, and you integrate it into your daily rhythms, you will be surprised at all of the good that comes back your way- sometimes when you least expect it.
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