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The Secrets To Successful Networking

Aug 18, 2007
You must first decide who can help you achieve your goals and set up a networking meeting with the right people. You will very soon make the connections you need in order to get what you want.

This may appear to be a little mercenary, but you must do this if you wish to succeed, list ball you friends, colleagues and business associates. Add notes to the list as to how they can help you realize your goals, who or what do they know and could they pass them onto you as a useful contact or connection.

Don't feel uncomfortable about using your friends and family in this way, when you have achieved what you set out to achieve you can repay them in which ever way is fitting. And considering that they are the difference between trawling the situations vacant columns or setting up a meeting to discuss the new job or contract you want right now.

Maximize the value of these connections and decide exactly what you want to achieve with their help. You must be fully clear in your own mind about your goals or your network wont deliver.

To discover the most lucrative new opportunities, listen to your friends for news of new products and services, emerging markets, retirements, reorganizations, expansions, mergers or takeovers, indeed, anything which relates to change because change equals opportunity.

Define what it is you need from this new opportunity. If you are seeking a better job, write down the terms of your salary, hours, challenges, status and training. If you need to expand your own business, estimate how much your next contract should be worth. Define your goals.

Make others feel as though they want to help you and not as though they are being forced or cajoled. The key to successful networking is to keep the conversation as informal and friendly as your relationship to that person is.

Balance the tips, advice and new contacts you receive by returning the favor. Look at your list of contacts and see who could benefit from meeting each other. The next time you meet a friend or colleague mention another friend's skills and suggest how useful they could be. In return you will find that your friends will mention others that you would benefit from speaking to.

Always ensure that you follow up on any contacts, first by telephone, and then in person, do not use email or sms, this is too impersonal and will give a bad impression.

Overcome your fear of cold calling by remembering that you have at least one thing in common, you have a mutual friend, they will probably suggest you call and will generally propose an informal meeting.

Remember you are only looking for information and advice at this point, successful networking is about developing a mutually beneficial relationship. Engage in an open conversation with your new contact about your plans and ask their advice. be informed, do your homework so you can talk confidently about their company.

Although it's an informal meeting, this is your future so dress accordingly, be optimistic and make sure you both enjoy the meeting. Focus on the person and not on what could be in it for you.

Let you network show you opportunities in the future, keep in regular touch with your friends, family and business contacts, attend social gatherings, become one of 'the crowd' and you will find that whenever a potential opportunity is available you will be one of the first to know.
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