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The Art of Networking

Sharing is Caring!
What is networking?

Is it a group of people getting together informally to talk about what's happening on the job?

How about finding out what you can do to help a client or associate?

Or maybe it's peers chatting while attending the local Kiwanis or real estate investors club meeting each month.

Networking is each and all of these things, as well as many more.
It involves a plan, even a strategy for developing contacts for mutual support.

When you business-network, you gain knowledge through the exchange of information and improve your chances of attracting clients to your company.

It's such a simple concept, but it scares people. Some people think you have to be an effective "networker." You don't.

On the other hand, a person who hugs the wall, clutching a diluted iced tea in his sweaty hand while his frantic gaze sweeps the room searching for somebody, anybody, to talk to, isn't going to impress too many minglers at first glance either.

What you need is balance, and, the underestimated, extremely important ability to listen.

Whether you belong to an informal networking group of friends or a more structured professional association, the key is to get out and meet other people.

Sharing resources leads to increased productivity, which means your business grows.

Remember, it's your obligation, if you want to succeed, to let people know what you do for a living.

How else are they going to find out, unless by pure happenstance or massive marketing campaigns?

But we're not talking about one-on-one communication, synergy, or win-win relationships.

Acquiring information through a wide range of contacts makes you stronger because the more knowledge you have, the more powerful you are.

And, by sharing knowledge and discovering how you can help a new contact, you help others.

Networking is a stress reliever.

If you have a problem, don't you always feel better when you discover that someone else has the same dilemma?

Through networking contacts you will find that you are not alone and that there are associates who would be happy to help with possible solutions.

Truth is vital.

You have to be open and willing to share your time, information, and knowledge.

In today's "What's in it for me?" world, you must stop and consider others's needs.

They are as important as your own. By helping others you help yourself.

Listening to your partner is primary.

Don't you hate it when you're at a gathering and it's obvious that the person you're talking to isn't really listening?

He may be nodding his head and making positive sounds, but his gaze is darting around the room like a just-popped balloon.

Suddenly you feel as interesting as a broom, the point you were trying to make is no longer significant as you realize that he is not listening to you.

When you network, listen to your new associate.

Take the time to find out a little about him and then volunteer information about yourself.

Focus on your partner, not on what's happening everywhere else in the room.

Discuss the type of work you both do, what your goals are, and how you can help each other. By building rapport, you both benefit.

Show your belief in your product or service by conviction and enthusiasm. People are more swayed by sincere emotion than facts and figures.

When you network, you not only increase your company's visibility within your community, but make contacts that are invaluable professionally and personally.

So the next time you have a chance to meet people or attend a business function, give it a try.

The rewards are worth the effort.

Finally, what is YOUR sentence?

If you can't say what you do in a sentence, think long and hard about framing your skills, career, or services into one concise statement.

It's very important to be brief.

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