A decade ago, “networking” was a dirty word. People associated with all kinds of schemes. Nowadays, it has turned into the lingua franca of our times.
According to master networker Keith Ferrazzi, “Success in life = the people you meet + what you create together.” Many studies in the budding field of social networking claim that your network is your destiny.
In other words, the way you network determines how much you’re going to get ahead in life and business. This article will focus on four networking tips to boost your success. Let’s take a look at each below.
It never hurts to ask for help.
Virtually everyone in the world has had to reach out for help — be it in the form of free advice, to get an internship, or to land a job interview. And the majority have been reluctant to ask for that help. The truth is until you become as enthusiastic to ask for help as you’re to give it, you’re only doing ½ the equation.
Connecting is a non-stop process of giving and receiving — of offering help and seeking it actively. A network works exactly because there’s an acknowledgment of mutual need. The more people you help, the more people will help you, and the more help you’ll get by helping others.
When I finished my Master’s degree, I believed life would be easy and companies would be fighting to get me as an employee. Reality hit hard and fast when things didn’t work the way I imagined them to.
I was several months into my job search when my mother told me she pulled some strings and got me an interview with the president of a government commission. He really liked me and several weeks later, I got my first prestigious job. It wouldn’t have worked out if my mother hadn’t believed it never hurt to ask.
The lesson I learned from my mother’s action was invaluable. She simply couldn’t be embarrassed when it came to realizing her family’s needs. And neither should you be regardless of whether that’s for your own benefit or for the benefit of a friend or a family member.
After all, the worst anyone can say is “no.” If they decide to not give their help or time, it’s their loss. Nothing in your life can create a better opportunity than your willingness to ask, whatever the circumstances.
Find who else has done what you want to do in life and get in touch with them.
Do you want to become a senator, a board member, or a CEO? The more concrete you’re about what you want to do in life, the easier it will become to reach that aim. Part of that process is to develop relationships with the people in your network who can help you arrive at your “destination.”
No one becomes an atomic physicist by accident. The more specific your goal is, the more you could accomplish it. Once you have determined your goal, you just have to find who else has done it.
You don’t need to invent the wheel. Just seek those who are already there and reach out to them. If it’s not possible to get in touch, see whom they hang out with, what their network is, and how they talk.
Focus on your immediate network.
I suspect you’ve never asked your cousins, siblings, or sisters-in-law if they know anyone whom they could introduce you to to help you achieve your goals. Have you explored the contacts of your parents? How about your uncle and aunt? The friends at your lacrosse team, at the gym, at church? What about your lawyer, doctor, or broker?
Everybody from your mailman to your family members is a gateway to a completely new set of people. Don’t wait until you’re out of your job to start getting in touch with others. You need to create a community of friends before you even need it. Begin working on it now, and you’ll be amazed by the treasures you can discover in your immediate network.
Do your homework well.
Before meeting with new people you’ve been considering introducing yourself to, do thorough preparation. Research who they are and what industry they are in. Find out what’s important to them and their business – goals, hobbies, challenges.
A good idea before the meeting is to have a one-page summary of the most important things about the person whom you’re about to meet. But don’t focus solely on the business stuff.
See what them as a human being. After all, you first make friends, then you talk business. Learn what they’re passionate about, what makes them tick, and what their proudest achievements are.
Nowadays, doing research has never been easier. You’d be surprised how few people carry it out properly, though. A few places to do it include Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, annual reports, and any public information about the company’s person you’re about to meet.
“Preparation is — if not the key to genius — then at least the key to sounding like a genius.” – Winston Churchill
Apply these four tips on a daily basis, and you’re very likely to get ahead in life and business.
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