Strategies for successful networking and relationship building.
Even if you have yet to actively network, chances are you already have a foundation of people to whom you turn when you need to know more about a topic. In turn, more than likely you also are a good resource – a person people turn to when they need assistance.
Sit down, and again make a list, this time identifying to whom you turn to and who turns to you in all facets of your life. By recognizing who you know, from your past and present, you will best be able to assess who would benefit by meeting new people.
The people on your list make up your personal network. They are of great value to you and have proven themselves to be reliable resources. You can take this foundation a step further by creating your own networking events – and you don’t even have to be a great organizer to do so. For example, invite a few of your contacts to meet you for lunch or coffee. Host a small dinner party at your home, or invite the entire list of people over for a potluck. Not up to entertaining at home? Organize a meetup at a centrally located place for drinks. Ask your contacts to bring a friend. Now you – and your contacts – are expanding your circles two, three and even fourfold.
When building your personal network, remember this: People generally want to do business with people they know – and like. Creating and nurturing a strong personal network of people who not only know you but what you can do is one of the most important parts of successful networking. It’s these people in your personal network who can increase your business. Be sure, though, that everyone in your personal network understands not only what you do but how great you are at what you do. Your personal network can be your chief allies, advocates and your most valued relationships. Nurture them, value them and help them as much as they help you.
Tips for nurturing your personal network
Quantity vs. Quality
Like most things in life, it’s not quantity as much as quality. Your personal network is really comprised of those people in your inner circle whom you not only trust with your reputation but whom you would also bet your reputation on – and who share your sense of responsibility and commitment to helping others.
Make sure everyone in your personal network knows exactly what you do.
Fine-tune your 30-second elevator pitch, and use it, even if you’ve known someone for years.
Make sure you’re not the only one doing the talking when you get together. Keep an ear open for something that might spark an idea as to how you can help, and ask questions that show
your sincere interest.
Do someone a favor — no strings attached.
They’ll not only value the help you’ve provided, but they’ll value your relationship and generosity even more.