The A-B-Cs of Networking

In the workplace - and when dealing with workplace matters - networking is a powerful tool. And the same is true in personal and social situations, where friends and family can provide you with a great support system, both as you make decisions about change in your life and as you carry them out. Most of us already have a network, but many of us don't know it, so we don't use it. All of us can have a network, but most of us don't do it, so we can't use it. My recommendation? Build a network of people who can assist you in reaching your goals ? and USE IT!

On a plain piece of paper, jot down the letters "A", "B" and "C" with "A" at the top of the sheet, "B" about one-third of the way down the page, and "C at the two-thirds point. Then write some notes to yourself as you read. The most powerful tool to use with a network is to "A" -- ASK for help. (Write this down.) In fact, that's what a network is for, and everyone knows it. Even those who network to develop business or to get a promotion know that even these selfish motives are, in their way, requests for help. Conversely, there's a willingness to help...it's a two-way street.

As wise men have said so many times, "Knowledge is power." But, since none of us can have all the knowledge, no one of us can have all the power. However, the more we ask, the more we learn. The more we know, the more powerful we can be.

Of course, knowledge itself isn't power (that's only POTENTIAL power). How we use the knowledge makes the power KINETIC - puts it out there where it can command respect, earn us a raise or promotion, get us a job or some other recognition we really want.

Now for the "B" item. Often, change affects a whole group of people. In that situation, using your network means enlisting others who are being affected and sharing information. "B" is for Brainstorm ? discuss ideas, opinions, strategies and tactical approaches among yourselves for the benefit of each and all of you. Perhaps you can use the space on your sheet to jot down some brainstorm ideas about who should be in your network, how to reach them, and so forth.

Finally, "C" - COMMUNICATE. TALK ABOUT YOUR IDEAS. There's no better way of honing them to razor-edged sharpness in your own mind. And talking about Idea number one may spark Idea number 2 - which may come from someone else - and that idea may be even better. Also, when you share, others will share as well, and you'll all feel supportive and supported.

Is this risky? It may feel that way, but that's not really accurate. Even your most cherished and secret idea isn't brand new. Most others don't want it or care about it, anyway...but they're often willing to help you realize it, so take the risk.

Look at your paper. Did you write down each of these key ideas? Now flesh out your outline, then get moving. Start your networking today. It's as easy as "A," "B," "C!"

Copyright 2002, 2005 Optimum Performance Associates/Paul McNeese.

Paul McNeese is CEO of Optimum Performance Associates, a consulting firm specializing in transitional and transformational change for individuals and institutions through publication. His publishing company, OPA Publishing, is an advocacy for self-publishing authors of informational, instructional, inspirational and insightful nonfiction.

Email: [email protected]
Websites: http://www.opapublishing.com and http://www.opapresents.com

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