The 4 P’s of Networking; Don’t Add the 5th!

29 02 2012

What is Networking?

Networking is the process of building and maintaining relationships, whether they be for personal or business reasons or both.  I am still in touch with friends from my childhood, camp, schools, etc.  I am still connected with clients from more than 25 years ago.  My intention has always been on the people themselves, the relationships with those individuals, and not on what I could gain from knowing them.

The 4 P’s of Networking

Professionalism:

I define Professionalism as the manner in which you deal with others, whether it be in business or personal matters, involving honesty, integrity and ethics, fair consideration, and genuine interest in the other.  Treat and deal with others as you would wish them to treat and deal with you.

Patience:

They say that patience is a virtue!  Patience is often lacking in our dealings with others, especially if we are focused on what we want/need, and not on the overall relationship.  Relationships take time and effort; trust is not built in a day!  I understand that when one has a short-term want or need, such as finding a job when unemployed, patience is tested, often severely.  This becomes a challenge when networking to support job search or business development efforts.   We want to get what we want or need NOW.  The lack of patience threatens to derail the relationship building process.

I have always employed patience in building relationships, especially in business.  After my first attempt to reach someone, I usually wait 3-5 days to call back.  If I am not able to reach them again, I wait 5-7 days, and the length of time between attempts increases each time.  I leave nice messages each time.  I don’t get mad at them, or express any anger or displeasure – that will not evoke a positive response or the return phone call or email that I am seeking.  When I do reach them, they are often apologetic; I don’t want them to feel bad.  There are so many reasons why they haven’t returned my phone calls and emails, and usually it is not about me, but about what is going on in their lives.  Once we connect, I want to focus on building the relationship, and not tearing it down.

As a recruiter, it sometimes took me months or longer to reach someone; some people I never reached, and I sometimes stopped trying.  In the long run, my patience paid off – I eventually reached many new contacts, and developed many new fruitful relationships.

Persistence:

The above discussion leads me into the concept of Persistence.  Keep trying to reach someone, but don’t get impatient, don’t get angry, and don’t give up too easily.  People are truly busy, or they have extenuating circumstances that prohibit their getting back to you promptly.  They are sick, someone else is sick or has passed away, they’re away on business or pleasure, they have sensitive deadlines to meet, they lost your phone # or email address, their “to-do” list is a mile long, and even though they have good intentions to get to you, they just can’t get down the list, and each day, more gets piled on.

Be persistent, but remain professional and patient throughout!  Try different times of the day, and switch between phone and email.  If someone has referred you, go back to your referral source, explain the situation, and elicit their assistance.

Proactive:

Don’t wait for someone else to call or email you.  Be proactive, and reach out to them.  You met someone at an event or party; reach out to them first, not five minutes after the event or party, but within a few days.  Keep in touch with others.  Don’t let your relationships wither away.  You can use different means to keep in touch including social media.

Don’t be Pushy!

This 5th P is a no-no!  If you are impatient and overly persistent, if you insist that someone respond to your messages, if you push the relationship too fast, you will most likely lose the connection, and all the benefits that each of you might have derived if you had taken it slowly and patiently throughout.

The Bottom Line

Focus on the relationship, focus on the other person, take a genuine interest in them, look for ways to help them and to nurture the relationship.  Feed the relationship appropriately, and it will grow.  I continue to keep in touch with many people from many years ago.  It is not easy as I have met and worked with so many people over the past 30 years.  However, live events, the phone, email and social media (especially LinkedIn and Facebook) all combine to give me opportunities to keep in touch with many on a reasonable and regular basis.  And, we continue to reach out, help one another in so many different ways, and reap the ongoing benefits of maintaining our relationships throughout.

So, start, build and cultivate relationships.  Your investment in others will benefit them and you for years to come!  If you’d like to read more of my blog posts about networking, please click here.

If you would like to learn more on how to network and build relationships effectively, please call me at (818) 577-1347 or email to scfried@aol.com.

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2 responses

29 02 2012
Kathy Rappaport

Stuart – as someone who had networked for nearly 30 years, it’s so true that it’s the only way to be successful to have all your P’s in a row. Relationships for business are fruitful if you follow a plan, connect often, and are sincere. Anything else – will cause you to forfeit what would be of potential mutual benefit. Well written.

1 03 2012
Stuart Fried

Thanks Kathy 🙂

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