Wednesday, June 1, 2016

4 Practices to Network Your Way to Success

A lot is written about the importance of networking for your career success and much of it is good, solid advice. However, rather than complicate things there are four practices that, if implemented, will help you gain deeper connections that ultimately provide you with lasting resources to support you through all phases of your career--the good, the bad, and everything in between.

The following are four practices to network effectively for lasting and meaningful success:  

1. Be social. This is obvious but is also difficult for those who identify as introverts (up to half the population). The easiest way to be social is to be present: attend the party, the conference, the networking event. Develop a set of introductory questions or statements to break the ice with someone new and show interest in the other person. You don't have to be at a formal networking event to practice being social. You can be social in the work cafeteria or at the coffee shop. You never know when you might develop a last relationship with someone. After all, every one of your friends was a stranger at some point.

2. Be kind. Yes, kindness and compassion win out. Kindness is attractive and others will be drawn to you. But you must make it genuine. Speak words of kindness and encouragement to others and you will find that you are also encouraged and in a better mood, and likely to be more social.

3. Be curious. Take an interest in others and desire to learn what you can about their work, their interests, and their lives. Ask questions. Listen well. Not only will you develop deeper relationships but you'll gain more knowledge, making you a more skilled and valuable employee or entrepreneur.

4. Be a connector. When you meet someone find a way to connect them with someone you know who might be of interest or service to them. For example, if you meet someone who talks of the need to update their web site let them know about the graphic designer friend you have. Or perhaps you meet someone interested in learning more about film-making, introduce them to your friend who directs commercials for TV. When you become a connector others will seek out your advice and suggestions and they will also connect you to the people in their lives who might of interest or service to you.

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