During August 2013 the Australian Institute of Management holds its National Networking Week [August 5 to 9]. The initiative acknowledges the importance of learning through networking along with the personal and business development opportunities that also come with effective and genuine networking.
I learnt the value of networks very early on; in one of my earliest businesses my work came from networking.
When your self employed the reliance you have on networking simply cant be over stated, after all, to pursue entrepreneurial dreams means in no short part that you have to learn how to successfully and effectively network.
After all, in my case if I didn’t secure work for my emerging business, I didn’t eat. Ones survival instincts soon kick in and make for a powerful motivator.
While that phase may have been many years ago now, the value of networking has only grown and now with tools such as LinkedIn it’s easier than ever before.
Having a network with which you can share ideas, knowledge and experience with are just some of the basics today; however, don’t attempt to network if you are not prepared to give more than you will receive.
Networking must be done with good and genuine intent, approach networking from the perspective that it’s an opportunity for you to give not what you can extract from it.
Successful networking is indeed a key pillar to a successful business and a successful professional career, my top 10 (secrets to success) lessons for those wanting to improve their networking capabilities are:
- Be clear about what Networking is and how you will approach it
- Learn to think on your feet and adapt to circumstances as they change
- Pay attention to those around you; learn from those that do it well
- Educate yourself on other people’s customs and practices; be culturally aware especially before engaging with them
- Don’t mix your social and business networks, especially online
- Be enthusiastic
- Be real, genuine interest is never contrived
- Maximise your networking opportunities and set time aside each week
- Follow up and thank people
- Keep track via a system such as LinkedIn to assist in bringing your network to life
Networking is, as much about people as anything else, if you don’t have genuine interest in others, don’t network for if you do, you will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
How will you know if your networking efforts are being successful?
If you are facilitating connections, opportunities and learning for others your networking efforts are indeed successful.
“Ten Tips to Successful Networking” article published in the Alwasat Newspaper in August 2013.