Building The Best Network

If you want to succeed, build a great team. A great team multiplies your prospects for success; it enables you to form relationships with powerful people who can make your dreams come true. A great network supports your strengths, fills in your weaknesses and allows you to d build on your teammates' accomplishments. When you have a great team, people assume that you are great and will stand in line to get to know you, do business with you, and help you. They will also be delighted to pay your price.

Okay, so you understand the value of a strong network. Now, how do you get started in building a great network?

Well, unless you've been living in total seclusion, you already have a network in place. And your network is probably more extensive than you realize. It may not be a great network yet, but it's a beginning and a place from which to build. Your network most likely consists of your family, friends, schoolmates and business associates. It includes people with whom you've conducted business, socialized or otherwise interacted. In addition, the members of your network members' networks are also members of your network. Therefore, if your accountant is a member of your network, so are all the members of your accountant's network.

To build great networks, you need great people: great lawyers, doctors, dentists, accounts, insurance agents, friends, etc. If a disaster arose in the middle of the night, whom would you call? Can you count on him/her? Would he/she solve your problem? If a disaster arose in the middle of the night, who would call you? How could you help? Could they count on you?

If you want to build a great network, you must continually expand and upgrade your existing network. Everything always changes and what constitutes a great network today, could be less than great tomorrow. Network members drop out and lose interest: they change businesses, interests, and their lives and so will you. In networking, expanding and upgrading is a never-ending process: heads of states, CEOs, established leaders at every strata of society are constantly seeking to find the best people and incorporate them into their networks, add them to their teams. So the process of expanding and upgrading never stops; it's what building a network is about.

To expand and upgrade your network requires focus. Once you realize that you have a network, it's time sharpen your focus and begin to see with new eyes. Continually look for new and better network members and search for links that tie your network members with virtually everyone you meet and everything you experience. Search for opportunities for your network members and help them reach their goals.

Follow the example of the successful people in your life. Have you noticed how frequently they take new information and relate it to their particular area of expertise? Have you observed that writers tend to see everything as material for potential stories, financiers always look at the bottom line, publicists think about promotional possibilities, comics turn everything into humor, lawyers probe for hidden liabilities and medical workers zero in on health?

Well, successful networkers operate on the same principle. They're obsessed with connections and instinctively search for them. Accomplished networkers see the world in terms of leads, contacts, and opportunities that will bring them closer to network relationships. They view the world optimistically and see every possibility as an opening that could lead them to their pot of gold.

Examine how the successful people you know process new information. Then apply their methods to your situation.

In most cases, your contacts have been around for quite a while. However, you confined them to specific niches. To you they were friends, family, business associates, or service people, not potential network contacts. When you expand your awareness to see those around you also as members of your network, you can refine your networking focus.

Focus on networking. Practice honing your networking focus until it becomes a highly-developed skill. Begin by:

* Asking yourself if people you know, meet or hear about could help you network.

* Clarifying precisely how these people could help. For example, introduce you to the mayor, recommend you for the membership in the garden club or inform you where they found their antique Venetian carnival masks.

* Find out what places and events would be worth attending to expand your contacts.

* Question how you can make the best use of information to connect you with your targets.

Developing networking focus isn't difficult and before long, it will become second nature. Work to get it down pat because the ability to focus sharply is a priceless skill that will bring you rewards for the rest of your life.

Jill Lublin, author of the best selling book, Guerrilla Publicity, is a renowned public relations strategist and marketing expert. Jill is founder of GoodNews Media, Inc. a company specializing in positive news. She is currently the host of the nationally syndicated radio show, Do the Dream where she interviews celebrities who have achieved their dreams. Jill also has a TV pilot, The Good News, and an upcoming book, Networking Magic (Adams Media). Websites: www.promisingpromotion.com and www.jilllublin.com.

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