Networking Tips to Start 2011 – #1

19 01 2011

Whether you are working, job seeking, building your business, or just want to maintain your existing relationships and develop new ones, here is Networking Tip #1 to help you launch and organize your networking efforts in 2011 (more to come…):

Networking Tip #1

Networking = Building and Maintaining Reciprocal Relationships

Networking is the process of building and maintaining reciprocal relationships by sharing/exchanging information, advice and connections.  Networking is not about selling or asking for job leads.

Look through your list of people you know (use your address books, email addresses, smart phones, social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.).  When is the last time you spoke with them, or exchanged an email?  Now is a great time to:

  • Get in touch and say “hello”
  • Wish them a belated “Happy New Year”
  • Ask them about their holidays
  • Ask them about their outlook and plans for 2011
  • Ask them about their business, their family, their recent travel, etc., depending on how well you know them
  • Look for an opportunity to share something helpful with them

Reach out by phone or by email and re-connect (I recommend the phone in most cases).  I had lost touch with a childhood friend, and as time passed, I felt embarrassed to call him.  When I did call and told him of my hesitation, he responded that he had the same feeling of embarrassment and was so glad I took the initiative to re-connect.  Don’t wait for the other person to contact you.  If they apologize for not staying in touch, tell them it’s not an issue and that you’re glad to be back in touch.

Take an interest in the other person.  Ask questions.  Look for an opportunity to help, to give, to share.  Don’t have a hidden agenda to try and get something from then.  Be genuine and sincere in your interest to keep in touch.

What do you get out of it?

  • Reconnecting with your friends and business colleagues
  • Enjoying the relationships you have with others
  • Learning from and sharing with others
  • Feeling good about helping others

So, set a goal to re-connect with your network, on a daily, weekly, monthly and overall regular basis.  Don’t wait until you “need” someone for something.  Keep your networking as genuine and natural as possible.  And, keep networking!

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