Friday, April 12, 2013

The Real Story on Networking Groups

Networking groups can result in positive connections and relationships; however, there are many misconceptions about how to use networking groups. In the article “Get the Real Story On Networking Groups,” Ivan Misner, PhD, founder and chairman of one of the world’s largest networking organizations, gives some pointers on how to make networking work for you.

“Networking is simple─but it’s not easy” (Misner)

Networking is a skill that takes practice. Much like playing a sport, you’re not an expert the first time out. You’ll have to attend more than one event to cultivate the valuable relationships a networking group provides.

Be prepared to explain your business and be able to define your customer base. Listen to others describe their businesses so you can identify professional opportunities for assisting and doing business with others. Networking is a two-way street that can result in long-term relationships, but don’t expect new customers after just one event. It takes time to form profitable relationships.

Networking isn’t just for young professionals

In fact, many networkers are seasoned professionals who have recognized and learned the benefits of networking, including the competitive advantages it offers.

Look for a networking group representative of the community in which you do business. Often you’ll benefit from a diverse networking population of older and younger members, men and women, and a mix of race and ethnicities.

Viable customer referrals

Assuming professionals in your networking circle are knowledgeable about your business and goals, the referrals they send your way should lead to viable, long-term customers.

Networking is about forming relationships that are mutually beneficial. It takes time and work, but when done well, networking should be worth the effort.

Source: Misner PhD, Ivan.“Get the Real Story on Networking Groups.” Entrepreneur Media. January 5, 2010. (Excerpted from Misner, David Alexander, and Brian Hilliard. Networking Like a Pro, Entrepreneur Press. 2010.)

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