My friend’s network had simply disappeared. She’d spent 20 successful years at one company and when she left, the relationships she needed to be in place to find another opportunity simply weren’t there. Why? She’d forgotten to build a network before she needed it.
It’s a common misunderstanding. We either think, “I don’t need it right now,” or worse, believe that networking is just a business card exchange that equals, “Can I sell you something?” The result? We resort to small talk at critical “meet and greet” events, unable to be verbally fluent or make any meaningful connection.
Most people don’t understand real networking, i.e. taking a conference or a casual cocktail event and turning it into a strategic—and enjoyable—way of building a rewarding relationship. And like any good relationship, networking works best when it’s two-way. The idea is to meet, talk, then keep connected afterward for mutual benefit.
My Networking Planner™, is designed to help you be strategic about your networking all the time. Use it to create an overall network plan, and to record specific questions and actions for each individual you want to connect with. For example, the reasons why you want to connect with them, the questions you will ask, what you might say about the value you bring and your next actions. This will make the time you spend with your network more beneficial, and you won’t miss an opportunity to talk “fluently” to a potential resource or mentor.
Nurturing connections is a great way to cultivate a network, whether you think you need it right now or not. It takes some practice, but it will forge powerful connections in both your public and private life.
Download your copy of My Networking Planner™ here.
Connecting is a Constant Process...
Skeptical about what networking really means? Looking to brush up on those networking skills? Never Eat Alone
is the place to start, teaching everything from how not to be a networking jerk, to mastering the art of small talk so you can turn any conversation into something meaningful. Other chapters include: how to be a “conference commando”, the importance of staying in touch, and building your brand just by what you say when you’re in a conversation.
Keith Ferrazzi is a true believer in the idea that networking is not about “working the crowd” but instead, building genuine and lasting relationships. And it doesn’t matter whether these are in your public or private life—if you choose to network well, everyone you meet is someone you can connect with on a deeper level.
To learn more about how to use the principals of networking to help your career, buy the book