People Know People

I recently entered the keyword "networking" into Google. In 0.13 seconds, it returned 21,600,000 entries. Amazing! What's even more amazing was when I entered the same search ten minutes later 200,000 additional entries were found. Countless articles and information are available about this subject. By reviewing the latest information, many of you are taking the first step towards learning more about networking tools and techniques.

Remember the old saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know." Not only does this hold true today, but there continues to be a growing emphasis on the importance of people connections. Business, job and people networking have become the norm, not the exception. Baby Boomers and Generation X professionals use networking in almost every aspect of their daily lives in order to gain greater success in today's competitive business environment.

Networking is a powerful tool that offers the promise of impacting our lives by opening endless people, company and information channels. It helps us establish new business contacts, locate and land challenging career positions and interact with people who have common interests and goals. As a young adult seeking my first job, it took a while to understand the very simple premise that people know people. Twenty-some years later, I realize the potential for using this new found tool for seeking advice, information, recommendations, referrals and support.

Not long ago, mention the word networking and most people either didn't understand what you meant, or those with a technical background thought of a computer network. Today, most people understand the term in a general sense, however do they really understand the process, benefits and dynamics that link people together?

Don't assume everyone understands what you mean by networking. Lillian Bjorseth, author of "Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last," said most people fail at networking because they don't really understand what it is. "Networking is not a personal platform for you to tell people how wonderful you are," said Bjorseth. "It's a dynamic process that links people into mutually beneficial relationships." A key success factor for effective communication is establishing a common understanding of terms, goals and expectations. Once established, you are better positioned to target specific goals and objectives. Many job seekers know from experience that the average person assumes you are seeking only contacts that have job openings. Based on this assumption, it's easy for them to simply say, 'I don't know anyone who is hiring right now.' By educating new acquaintances first, you will not only avoid this problem, but open their minds to exploring a much broader group of resources.

Without getting into the "dos & don'ts"?a list of important things to keep in mind:

· Explain networking in simple terms including your goals and how it benefits all parties.

· Assure contacts that you understand they are busy and value their time.

· Provide an option to meet or have a phone conversation.

· Explain that your focus is to develop a two-way exchange of information that is mutually valuable:

· Ask about their job, company and latest challenges, hobbies, what they excel at and listen for ways that you can help them.

· Find ways to give back to your contacts through interesting and informative articles, referrals that might assist their business, scheduled events or even social or hobby information.

· Be a courteous communicator, and always express your appreciation for assistance.

· Good relationships take time to develop; they don't happen overnight.

Building a diverse network with an eye toward the future, including different business sectors, job responsibilities, cultures and geographic locations will provide a more comprehensive group of resources. Allow yourself time to establish relationships based upon trust, common values, interests and goals. Use your contacts effectively and recognize that each one is different and each group must be approached uniquely.

Types of Contacts

Your contacts will typically fit into three groups: (1) people you know, or warm contacts, (2) those referred to you by a business or personal contact or referral and (3) people you do not know, cold contacts. Warm contacts should not be taken for granted. Ongoing exchanges of information with warm contacts may be easy for you, but ask yourself if you are achieving your goals. Your closest friends, business associates and co-workers may provide ongoing support, advice and information, but may not necessarily be your strongest or best resources. Referrals can be introduced in person, by phone call or via e-mail. Remember that someone thought enough of you to provide a referral, so treat both individuals with professionalism and respect. Find a common thread when working with cold contacts to help you open the door or perk their interest. Use something you know about their company, a person they know, an association they belong to or an article you read that might apply to them. Don't under estimate the potential of anyone. You will be pleasantly surprised, if you make the effort to establish a relationship. Don't become so wrapped up in developing your own network, that you overlook the benefit of providing referrals to your contacts.

Persistence

Accepting rejection and maintaining a positive and persistent approach are key to your success. Not everyone will have the time, energy or desire to talk with you. Set a time table for yourself that includes follow up calls and e-mails. If you fail to receive a response by the end of your defined period, move on and concentrate on those people who are receptive to talking or meeting. Cultivating and developing good working relationships takes time, patience and the right touch of persistence. Each person has unique values, which, when combined with your overall group, form a strong alliance.

Research is a very important part of developing your network.

Gaining information about companies, people, products and trends all require research. Google, www.google.com is one of many excellent tools for fulfilling your research requirements. Many times you will find limited company information, but you will be able to identify names of the management team or decision makers. By entering a very simple search using Google, you can locate every occurrence of specific companies and potentially a broad range of information valuable to your research. First, identify the company website, example: Sears Roebuck & Company is www.sears.com. Enter the following search "@sears.com" into the Google search field. The information returned from this search will provide company information, articles, personal e-mail addresses of employees and many other sources of valuable information. One of the most valuable pieces of information you may find are employee e-mail addresses. Using the e-mail format, you can now e-mail decision makers and people who might be able to assist you within specific companies.

The influence of people who know people increases our ability to lend assistance to friends and colleagues, leverage the expansive community of resources available and help us become more successful. Every individual has their own style of working, socializing and getting through their daily life tasks. Develop a networking style that recognizes your individual strengths, weaknesses and purpose.

About the Author:
You can contact Russ Kovar at [email protected].
Russ Kovar is also the Moderator for Chicagoland Ecademy Regional Club, an organization of us.ecademy and he is available for Job Search and Neworking Coaching.

In The News:


Donegal Now

Top 'mentalist' to host Donegal business networking event
Donegal Now
Television mentalist David Meade will bring his unique brand of humour and entertainment to a special spring business-networking event in Letterkenny this weekend – but if you want to go, you'd better snap up a ticket quickly! Famed as a BBC TV show ...


Miami's Community Newspapers

Busy month for business networking and charitable events
Miami's Community Newspapers
Members of Profit Inc., one of Miami-Dade County's oldest business networking groups, gathered recently at New York Life's offices in Doral for an open house hosted by Rosemary Guilfoyle. Among the many enjoying a lovely buffet and networking were ...


EE Times

Networking Furiously at ESC Boston 2017
EE Times
Just looking at this list, I realize how much networking I do with these folks. In the past, when I've been invited to host a panel on something or other, I've always been able to call on relevant experts who are already attending the conference ...


Harvard Business Review

When You Agree to a Networking Meeting But Don't Know What You're Going to Talk About
Harvard Business Review
For some networking meetings, the agenda is obvious: Your companies are considering doing business together, or you're looking for a job and this person might help you get one. But many professionals find themselves in networking meetings where the ...


Forbes

Seven Things You Need To Know To Overcome Networking Nerves
Forbes
As a clinical psychologist in New York City who works with some of the city's most professionally motivated and strategic social climbers (most won't admit it until they're safely ensconced in a confidential session at my office), it's no surprise that ...


Panduit participates in networking conference
Chicago Daily Herald
Business Wire. TINLEY PARK -- Panduit Corp. recently participated at the Optical Networking and Communication Conference and Exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center. During the technical conference, Panduit contributed two presentations that ...


PayScale Career News (blog)

5 Networking Tips for Beginners
PayScale Career News (blog)
But, what you lack in experience you make up for in effort and enthusiasm. Still, beginners often struggle with networking, and it's an important part of launching your career and building your professional identity in earnest. So, here are some quick ...


Financial Planning

Voices What “Wedding Crashers” and speed dating teach advisers about networking
Financial Planning
In my first year as an adviser, I looked past social media and the internet to tear through the networking circuit with reckless abandon. Night in and night out, I would attend networking functions, typically sponsored by a local chamber of commerce ...


Petoskey News-Review

Quick Read: Psychotherapist McKellar organizing series of networking events
Petoskey News-Review
The Northern Michigan Wellness Network aims to provide a free networking venue — not membership driven — to those in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula that'll meet monthly for the purpose of enhancing knowledge and skills within the wellness ...


Harriette Cole: Reader needs help going into networking event ...
News Sentinel
DEAR HARRIETTE: My first university networking event is coming up, and I have no idea how to conduct myself. I have my business attire ironed and read.

and more »
Google News

Networking

Put join a networking group on your to do list... Read More

How to Keep from Sounding LIKE Totally Stupid

June is reality check month. Lots of the resolutions have... Read More

Joining Industry Specific Organizations Has Many Benefits

Recently, while providing an up-and-coming Virtual Assistant (VA) and small... Read More

Networking - Facts to Ponder

Right here in Europe, the very last continent to enter... Read More

Create a 10 Second Introduction From Your USP

You can generate a ton of business by networking, whether... Read More

Effective Business Networking: 5 Tips For Mastering The Art of Networking

The heart of any business is the connection it has... Read More

Why Bother With Social Networking Sites Like LinkedIn?

Q: I think I understand the value of networking as... Read More

How to be Known

Why business relationships are formed with certain people?If you go... Read More

Value-Added Network

A value-added network can be achieved through explicit actions to... Read More

Effective Networking

The process of finding out about a job, getting interviewed,... Read More

Alliances: More Than A One Way Relationship

What is the biggest advantage of forming an alliance?Everyone has... Read More

10 Effective Ways to Remember Names

Sigmund Freud says "a person's name is the single context... Read More

When Gifts Say More

What's a gift mean? If you're like me, you probably... Read More

Lesson 14 - Whats In A Handshake?

The StoryAs a child growing up, one of the many... Read More

Volunteering for a Networking Group

When is it appropriate to volunteer to take a position... Read More

Networking in the Change Room: 5 Ways to Network Effectively While Getting Undressed

There's a time and place to network with people in... Read More

Giving Referrals to Get Referrals

One of the best ways to get a referral is... Read More

The Five Step Formula For Getting Prospects to Call You

Are you tired of prospecting for new business?Are you sick... Read More

Plan for the Event or Flounder

Rather than being there to eat the food and drink... Read More

Networking: Breaking into the Buzz

Breaking into conversational groups is one of the things people... Read More

Acknowledging Referrals! What?s in It For You?

I grew up in a household where saying thank you... Read More

Ask for Referrals: And Get the Answer You Want!

Why are people scared to ask for a referral? Is... Read More

8 Ways To Develop Confidence In New Situations

Do you enjoy one-on-one networking, however, the thought of walking... Read More

Why Cant I Start A Conversation With You?

One out of every ten Americans has a fear of... Read More

Network Your Way to Success, and Remember: Its Not About You!

Quote of the week"The answer is always no...unless you ask."... Read More