This week in the final part of this blog series I want to talk about how to create leverage in your networking.
We’re all time poor. And that’s one of the key excuses…sorry REASONS…I hear from people about why they don’t put the effort into building and growing their network. I’m as busy as the next person, so it’s really key to me that I leverage the time I do spend. And that’s what I teach my clients to do too.
Here are 5 key principles to bear in mind, which will help you leverage the networking you are doing.
1. Embrace Technology
Use technology to sift and sort your contacts, maintain connection with them and build stronger relationships (yes I’m talking Linkedin). With over 300 million users and growing at an incredible rate, Linkedin is a complete gift to the time poor professional.
Thanks to Linkedin, it’s never been easier to create a strong, targeted and responsive network. (If you don’t know how to do that, email me to find out more about booking in to my Linkedin Prowess Power Session. It’s designed to take you from Linkedin amateur to Linkedin artist in only a few easy steps).
You can also use information saving and sorting applications like Evernote to keep track of useful articles and content that you can then share with your network and add value.
Whatever your desire, there’s most likely an app, program or site that can help you.
2. Outcomes Rule
I recommend going into every networking situation understanding what outcome you want from it.
Outcomes will differ depending on stage of relationship, your own business goals and the people you are connecting with, but it’s a complete and utter waste of your valuable time to simply “go along” to networking events or meetings and hope that something comes out of it. Hope is NOT a strategy.
3. Facilitate Success For Others
I have a confession to make. With a background in the ultra-competitive fields of law and then recruitment, it’s taken me a few years to come round to the idea that facilitating success for others really does result in more success for you.
When I first started my coaching training, I was gobsmacked at how amazingly kind, nice and generous everyone was! That made me realise how cynical and selfish I had become, trapped into believing that helping others would somehow hold me back, rather than propel me forward.
I’m not suggesting you give work directly to your competitors, but I am suggesting that you embrace more collaboration, and understand that by helping others you can reap immense benefits. It might not happen overnight, but it will happen (and you’ll feel better in the meantime).
4. Move It Offline
While Linkedin is an awesome tool, as is email, there’s no substitute for real, honest to goodness, face to face, human connection.
To make the most of the online/email networking and marketing you do, ensure you build in a strategy that gets potential referrers, clients and contacts into some sort of “conversion conversation” be that coffee, a seminar you are running, or a social event.
Want to know more about how to do that? Book in a 15 minute chat with me and we’ll talk about what you need and how I can help.
5. Learn To Love It
My final tip is that to truly leverage your networking activity and get the most bang for your buck, you’ve just got to learn to love it. I know some of us enjoy it more than others, but there are so many ways to network now, and groups to be part of, that I believe there really is something for everyone.
And like anything in life, the attitude you approach it with will make all the difference to your results.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of blogs on how to build, grow and leverage your network. I’d love to hear what you’ve found most useful, and for you to share comments and tips on how you’ve made the most of your networking.
Remember, your network is the lifeblood of a successful, sustainable and fulfilling career. It feeds your career cravings for more success, and, if you work at it and learn to love it, it can also feed your personal growth and professional satisfaction. Get out there and network like a pro
PS One of the key issues most women have when it comes to networking is knowing how to follow up once you’ve made a connection, and being able to add value to the relationship. I put together a quick guide on how to add value to your network – and build relationships that get you results in the process. It’s called “The Value Jar™”. It shows you the key ways my clients follow up in their networking and build meaningful business relationships – quickly – without feeling they are just “taking”. The guide is free and it helps you add value in every interaction. If you’d like a copy click here to get it.