June 2006 - Networking for Fun and Profit
- What is Networking?
- Networking Examples / Case Studies
- Networking Tips - Barbara Taylor
- Networking Tips - Experience Unlimited
- Networking Tips - Susann Linn
- Resources (links, books, articles, the
for Fun and Profit
What is networking?
is the skill (some would say it is an "art") of developing a solid
cadre of contacts that can assist each other in achieving success.
Why network? In addition to
achieving business success, you can develop new friends, learn new information,
help others and build a solid base of support for almost any endeavor.
When to network? Always, no
matter where you are.
How to network?
practice, practice! Use the tips in this article at your next
- Share information, referrals or resources with others whenever you
- Get to know other people,
learn what they do, what they like and what they need.
- When attending a networking dinner
or professional group meeting, pretend you are the host or hostess.
other people to introduce themselves. Develop some simple opening questions like
"Where do you work?" "What brought you to this event?"
"What do you like most about your job (or this group or this area or . .)?"
- Pass out your business cards and get business cards from others. Write on the back of the card the date, location and something about each person
to help you remember them. If there is something you can offer them right away,
write that on the back of your card and give it to them.
- If you promise them some
information, referral or resource, make sure to follow-through and deliver on your
Where to network? Everywhere
you go: business meetings, social gatherings, childrenís events, office
get-togethers, professional groups ó anywhere there are other people.
Setting: Contacted by an executive recruiter, I met with him for a casual
chat on a Saturday morning. We visited for a while and discussed several
opportunities he was working on. He called me on Monday to report that after
he met with me, he went to a picnic with a number of friends and was asking
them if they knew me. Turns out, most of them did and he was very impressed.
He submitted my name for a high-level job, partly because so many people
that he knew also knew me and could give good references on my work ethic.
While that particular job didnít work out, it did give us a chance to work
together and we became professional friends.
Setting: A man wrote to me from another country and asked to join our mailing list.
He mentioned that he was interested in some particular types of
workshops. With his permission, I passed his name along to a friend who seemed to be
the best fit. I found out much later that my friend made a trip to that
country to give a workshop. When the man I referred and a woman there both
attended my friendsí workshop, they talked with each other and shared
their interests. She was looking for someone in sing in her choir at church
and he was interested in finding a compatible church where he could sing in
the choir. It was magical to see how 2 people in the U.S. were able to
connect 2 people in another country on the other side of the world.
Setting: A professional group meeting. You know
the kind ó 8 or 10 people to a table for chicken dinner and a professional
presentation of some kind. I sat at a table near the front, introduced
myself to the others at the table (as I had been taught by Susann
Linn in her Networking classes). We all chatted, exchanged business cards
and had dinner. After dinner, one of the women at my table turned out to be
the eveningís speaker. During dinner, we had chatted about what we were
each doing in our professional lives. She had recently left a corporate job
and was starting her own business. I asked if she would be interested in
another group I belonged to and we exchanged that information. After that
dinner, I didnít see her again for awhile. She did attend the group I
mentioned and found that it wasnít for her. Many months later, I got a
call to assist someone in preparing a proposal. They had gotten my name from
some else. After a meeting to see whether I wanted to go forward with the
work, I was introduced to the president of the company. You guessed it ó
it was that same woman I had met at dinner months earlier. We had a chance to work together on the proposal
and her growing company eventually became one of my best clients and she
became a good friend.
Setting: One of several people giving a presentation about starting a
business. One of the other speakers was an internationally known venture
capitalist. As we were chatting after our talk, he offered to give me some
free advice. We spent about an hour talking
about a week later. He gave me some really good insights into what he saw as
my strengths and my weaknesses in the job I was doing at the time. I
listened carefully and really thought about his observations. As it turned
out, he was right on although it took a while for the future to play out as
he predicted. He gave me something that no one else had Ė a different way
of seeing myself that turned out to be very powerful. He never asked me for
anything, though he did say that if I ever came across the type of young
company he specialized in, heíd like to hear about it. This particular
person for me was a "pivotal facilitator" ó someone who helps
you make a significant shift or offers insights, advice or assistance in
changing course. They often come into your life for solely that reason and
will always leave a lasting impression as this man did for me.
There are hundreds more examples of how networking has worked for me. Iíve met many new friends, business partners and
clients. It has gotten me several jobs, helped me tap into untold
resources and provided more information that I could possibly mention.
Advice for people who feel shy or less confident:
As someone who used to
be painfully shy, I can attest that anyone can learn to network successfully.
takes commitment, and practice, practice, practice! If you focus on learning
about other people instead of paying attention to yourself, you will meet the
most interesting people. By the end of an event, you will have forgotten all
about your shyness. Before long, you will overcome your
You can never tell where a referral may lead.
As you can see from the few
short examples given above, the best networking is where you are seeking to help
others. Itís an example of "what goes around, comes around" or
"pay it forward." If you help others, they will help you when you need
help. Help could be simply referring a name to someone or it could be help
finding a job, a doctor, a romantic connection or almost anyone else in the
Your goal should be to build your network and to add interesting people to
it. It could be months or years before they can help you.
asking for significant help right away. People donít like others who are too
aggressive and feel like the only reason you are interested in them is get
something from them.
Stay in touch with your network.
Send them articles or refer people to
them when you have the chance. Itís much easier now with the Internet to keep
in touch with people all over the world.
Some networking tips from others:
everyone you know and everyone one you meet.
network with respect.
Watch out for
your network and watch for ways to help them.
help whenever you can.
otherís time and professionalism.
Keep in touch
with members of your network.
people to each other and share information whenever possible.
network of news in your life; notify someone when you have given out their
name to someone else.
than you get.
when offered, even if you arenít sure what to do with it.
follow through on tips or referrals from you network.
that you can connect with your network.
opportunities to network everywhere.
Source: Professional Employment Network (PEN) (now
called "Experience Unlimited), division of the California Employment Development Department.
November 20, 1990: Contributed by Champagne
- Carry business cards with you at all times.
Your card is
your silent sales person, reminding people of you after youíre gone.
- Try to meet five new people at each networking meeting.
Make a point of collecting five business cards from people you donít know.
It may be safer and a lot easier to remain with friends, but the point of
networking is to widen your circle of contacts.
- Networking is an active behavior.
Being a wallflower is
not effective in a business situation. Make the supreme effort of walking up
to a stranger and introducing yourself. Itís usually easier to approach
someone who is standing alone. Frequently, they are alone because this is
their first meeting. Youíll be amazed how relieved they look.
- Visit new business organizations regularly.
increase the more you make yourself available to new groups of people.
if youíre not prospecting for business, you can make contacts for future
career possibilities or pick up a vital piece of information that will be
useful at your job.
- Talk to everyone.
I once met a new client in front of the
merry-go-round in South Coast Plaza while we both waited for the optometrist
office to open. You never know who someone is.
- Get the other person talking.
Donít talk on and on
about what you do. Ask questions and try to get to know the person youíre
speaking with. Find common areas of interest and definitely obtain a clear
idea of his/her line of work. Itís easy - people love to talk about
themselves and usually like to listen.
- Be helpful and other-directed.
An attitude of "Whatís
in this for me" will severely limit your networking possibilities.
suggestions to people, introduce them to someone else in the group, offer to
assist them with a problem they may have. Put it out there ó it will come
back to you many times over . . . and not always from the person youíve
- Start the ball rolling.
A wonderful trick: If you are
sitting at a table with strangers, pretend you are the host and ask people
to introduce themselves around the table. Itís amazing how this simple
step can get everyone talking, help you relax and open up many new
networking opportunities for you.
- Volunteer your expertise to the group.
The best way to
become known in an organization is to be active and visible. Ideally, become
a hoard member or get on a committee. If you donít have much time to
donate, you can still help sign people in or assist with hospitality at the
meeting. You might think in terms of acting like a host or hostess.
a shy person, this has the double benefit of giving you something to do and
a reason to talk to people.
- Donít make a beeline for your seat.
Wait until the
meeting has officially started before you sit down. Youíll have plenty of
time during the meal to get to know your tablemates.
- Be memorable.
If the group youíre attending allows for
self-introductions, say something funny, clever or different that helps
people remember you.
- Be concise.
When introducing yourself to individuals or
to the group, describe what you do in a short, easily understood
manner. Thereís no greater turn-off than someone who drones on about his
business ó especially if you canít understand it. Talk in "laymanís
Source: Excerpted from "Susann Linnís Directory of
Orange County Networking Organizations" 1989 edition
- Orange County Networking Directory (Orange County, CA)
updated annually. Written by Susann Linn ("Orange County's
Networking Queen") for 17 years. http://www.susannlinn.com
- The Networking Survival Guide: Get the Success You Want By Tapping Into
the People You Know. Diane Darling. McGraw-Hill, 2003. ISBN:
- Million Dollar Networking: The Sure Way To Find, Keep And Grow Your
Business. Andrea Nierenberg. Capital Books, 2005. ISBN:
- Masters of Networking, Ivan Misner and Don Morgan. Bard
Press, 2000. ISBN:
* Footnote: I dubbed Susann Linn
"Orange County's Networking Queen" more than 20 years
ago. The reason? I attended a networking breakfast and saw Susann
there. The same day, I attended a networking luncheon and saw Susann
there, then attended a networking dinner and saw Susann there - all at different
groups and different places in Orange County, CA. At dinner, I teasingly
called her "Orange County's Networking Queen" and the name
stuck. Before long, she was publishing her annual Networking Directory of
local groups and teaching thousands of people how to network successfully.
Networking became her business not just something she did.
Related newsletter articles:
- Power and Corporate Politics
October 1999 - Mentoring
November 1997 - Learning Flexibility
March 2001 - Finding the Right Job
The Lighter Side
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