Author Archive: Dave Bryant

The Networking Message

Networking can be an effective tool for marketing your business, promoting your personal brand or bringing awareness to causes and initiatives. In order to gain success in this communicative avenue, your messaging must be on point. How can you utilize networking to reach your goals? How can you properly connect with others to build awareness? How can you streamline your process to make it effective?

Listed below are helpful tips for answering those questions and building productive and profitable networks.

End Goal

Before you attend your next event or function, imagine the end results. What is your intention for meeting and interacting with people? How do you plan on creating the necessary steps to fulfill your mission? While connecting with others, ask about their experience and skills to see if those are good matches. Ask about expanding networks and meeting their friends and collections. Show that you have a genuine interest in working together.

Clean and Clear

Make sure that your messaging, whether verbal or non verbal, has clarity. It is also a good idea to have different versions to appeal to a wide and diverse audience base. But in doing this, make sure that the purpose, principle or mission remains the same and is the core of your message. Simple and basic are always the best ways of delivery. Being too complicated can cause confusion and misunderstanding in your goals or initiatives.

Persistance Pays Off

Be constant in your endeavors. Reach out to various avenues, networks and individuals to champion your cause or message. Of course, do not stretch yourself thin, but find unique ways to reach untapped or under utilized resources. Last but not least, do not hesitate to ask for help. Lean on your existing networks for direction, advice and feedback.

Use these tips to skyrocket your networking communication and efforts for big success.



Source by Chi Chi Okezie

Don’t Forget Forums As a Formidable Social Networking Source

For many of us, the term ‘social media’ is practically synonymous with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

At the very least, we will tend to associate social media with analogues of these three big sites and generally we think of social networks as modern sites where you can log in and share pictures and status updates.

In reality though, the web has been social long before Facebook was a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye.

When the web first exploded in popularity, people were already having discussions and debates about their favorite hobbies and interests but they were doing so in chat rooms and on forums.

And while Facebook and Twitter have more prominence now than those aforementioned chat rooms, they are nevertheless still out there and they still offer a lot of opportunities.

What are Forums?

A forum is essentially a message board, normally attached to a website, where people can post questions and get answers. Users must first create a profile and from there they can create or respond to ‘threads’ as well as doing other things like send private messages.

In other words, these act like the groups or pages on social media, providing discussion that is centered around a specific topic and where only ‘members’ get to contribute.

This is one of the biggest attractions of these forums – they have a ‘VIP’ feeling and tend to nurture a much more close-knit community. Many people will make friends on forums, or will even work together on joint projects etc.

The Advantages of Forums

So while forums are smaller than social networks, they are also much more targeted and the users tend to be very committed and passionate to the subject. This creates an ideal opportunity for you to gain exposure for your product or website if you post there.

The problem is, most companies have no idea how to use forums. They will simply create accounts, log in and then post their link like an advert. Bearing in mind how much of a clique the users of these forums become and how protective of their community they are, you can imagine that this is often met with disdain.

To succeed on forums then, the objective is rather to post links only after you’ve established yourself as an active member of that community.

To do that, you need to take part: by answering questions, by starting discussions and by finding things you find useful. Though it takes a little work, this can allow you to learn more about your target audience, to demonstrate yourself as an expert on your topic and to build loyal fans and even friends.

Once you manage that, you may even find that they actively help you to promote your business!



Source by Olla Boluwatife Joseph

Networking Mistakes People Make

Networking can work for everyone, but it doesn’t mean you can just go through the motions and land your dream job as a result. Networking is only effective when you use the right strategies. Here are some of the most common mistakes executives make in their networking efforts.

Not Warming Up Your Contacts

With such a busy schedule, combined with not personally seeing your connections frequently, contacts can quickly and easily go cold. It can be easy to lose touch with your professional network. However, the key to c-level personal branding is to always work on improving your image and brand. Any LinkedIn profile development professional will tell you if you reach out to a cold contact and act like you just saw them yesterday, your efforts won’t yield very good results. Just like you have to build a relationship with any new contacts you make, you have to warm up the relationship with current contacts.

Being Too Vague

When you visit the best executive resume writing services, they aren’t going to tell you to be vague on your resume. The same goes with networking. If you don’t enter a networking event with a clear goal in mind of why you’re going, you’ll leave with an empty feeling. Before you even attend an event, write down a list of things you want to accomplish, and most importantly, what you’re looking for in your career. Anticipate questions people may ask you so you know how to answer. Also, find out what organizations will be at the event and plan out who to meet while you are there.

Choosing the Wrong People

You may be talking to the wrong people. In most cases, if you’re new to an area or industry, you can’t talk to your past connections and expect to get anywhere. That’s why LinkedIn profile development is so critical in networking, since you can make connections no matter where you are. There are plenty of LinkedIn groups available to help you get acquainted with the right type of people before you even meet them.

Unprofessionalism

Spend time updating your LinkedIn profile. Review your Facebook account and delete photos that your shouldn’t have posted. A potential employer isn’t interested in what you did over the weekend or what you had for dinner.

Professional Resume Services provides not only the best executive resume writing services, but can also help with your LinkedIn profile development.



Source by Erin Kennedy

The Networking Double Check

Networking is a skill and art. It takes time to perfect and master it for true excellence and productivity. Savvy networkers can create a checklist or set of networking “do’s” before attending each event or encounter to make the most of their efforts. Double checking this list can be beneficial to your success.

There are several benefits to have a strategic method for applying your networking practices:

1. It outlines a goal (starting and ending point).

2. Establishes a vision and/or mission for your networking agenda.

3. It creates metrics for identifying and benchmarking activities.

4. It keeps you focused and intentional in your endeavors.

5. It is a viable and practical way of expanding your networks.

In the process of creating a checklist to make sure you are on task. Consider these options:

1. What is your reason(s) for attending the networking event?

2. Who do you hope or want to meet?

3. How can this move you forward in your networking goals?

4. What is the best and most effective ways of following up?

5. How can I use this process to build a productive network of individuals?

Last but not least, it is important to evaluate your process and make sure that it is yielding you desired results. In order to do this, it is essential to have a networking business plan. Create a step by step strategy which ensures that your networking efforts are aligned to your goal, vision, objectives, etc. Also, consult colleagues, friends or mentors for additional insight and advice. As always, do not leave your networking up to chance. Stay consistent and professional in all of your dealing and relationship building.



Source by Chi Chi Okezie

Advantages of Using Social Networking in Business

Social Networking is on a growing pace like never before. It is very important to know about it and how to use to target and connect with potential customers across the world. Most of the people in the world completely rely on the internet where they earn their bread with the help of social media.

Awareness of the Brand

Social media plays a vital role in making people aware of a business or company. Every day, thousands of new visitors join it, which automatically increases your chance to get considered by potential customers. Social is media is all about awareness and consideration. Lead generation is not the purpose of social media.

Know the Trend

It provides you insights into the mind of your audience. Recognizing your audience will assist you to discover inventive ways in which you can achieve them via advertising or content. Catering and targeting to the present level can result in multiple conversions.

Compete With Your Competitors

With the help of social network monitoring, you can gain key data about your contestant. This type of intel will allow you to form strategic business decisions to stay ahead of them. For example, you can create search streams on Hootsuite to monitor industry keywords and mentions of your competitors’ names and products. Based on your search results, you can enhance your business to offer product enhancements, service, or content that they may be missing.

Sharing Content More Effectively

In the past decade, marketers faced the challenge of ensuring their content reached customers in the shortest possible time. With the help of social network, specifically, when it comes to distributing content about your business, all you need to do is share it on your brand’s social networks. This does not only apply to your organic reach on social media, but to paid too.

Social ads are an inexpensive way to boost your business and distribute content. They also offer powerful targeting choices so you will reach the right audience. For example, if you run an ad campaign on LinkedIn, you can segment by location, company, job title, gender, and age-the list goes on. If you’re running a Facebook ad, your target can be based on location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and connections. You can track and quantify the performance of your social ads in real time.

Get More Sales

If your social media is done correctly it may assist you to increase sales. An audience that is truly concerned about your brand or product will react to sales messaging and convert. Having a social media presence can also permit customers “get to know” your brand, giving you more opportunities to gain their business.a



Source by Rahul Ranjan Singh

The Networking Ambassador

It is a networker’s dream to be able to attend effective and productive networking events on a regular basis. It is their high hope to meet quality, like minded individuals who are serious about their development. But it is impossible to attend every single event or connect with every single ideal person. Once a savvy networker comes across this obstacle, the next thing to consider is creating a way to make the most of their networking.

Consider having a team of supporters who are constantly networking on your behalf. These individuals are your trusted advisors who are willing to incorporate you to their existing networks. They can be colleagues, co-workers, friends, partners etc. Being able to have people to recommend you to others is also an excellent and credible form of word of mouth.

Before you enlist your team of supporters it is important to create a platform for them to properly network on your behalf. The first thing you should do is build quality relationships and trust. Show that you are committed and dedicated to your success and their success, as well. The next step is to share your goals and objectives for networking. Get them excited and engaged in your vision and mission. The final step is to go for the ask. Use etiquette and sensitivity to properly approach them and make your reasonable request. Hopefully, it is accepted and is a win-win for both parties.

Use these tips and suggestions to expand your networking objectives and reach your goals. Continue to build quality relationships based on credibility and trust.



Source by Chi Chi Okezie

Networking Treats

Many times we get bogged down by the dilemmas of networking and rarely celebrate the perks or victories. Networking is constantly evolving and changing from many aspects of industries, technologies, cultures etc. It is imperative to stay focused, updated and consistent in your goals. In the process of doing that it is also great to acknowledge the good and positive aspects of networking.

Listed below are highlights of how savvy networkers can gain the most from their objectives.

Appreciate the Opportunity

Do not see going to an event as just a box to check off from a long list of things to do. Attending events in person adds to your credibility and increases trust when meeting new people. It allows you to promote your personal brand and image in several positive ways. It definitely enables you to use all of your senses in regards to communication styles.

Appreciate the Development

As you are networking and growing your connections also focus on learning new skills. It can be an excellent way to sharpen your listening skills when conversing others. It can be a great way to understand different industries and businesses. It can also be an opportunity for you to share knowledge about your career or business. These are also helpful towards your professional advancement.

Appreciate the Connection

As you are building relationships, create a platform for sharing resources and helping others. Do not hesitate to offer introductions, referrals, leads or recommendations where you find necessary. Be open for further dialogue and meeting up to spark more beneficial opportunities. Exchange pertinent knowledge to add value to the relationship.

Hopefully these tips can highlight the continued benefits of networking and making quality connections. Reflect on these aspects for growing your contacts and building your skills for advancement and success.



Source by Chi Chi Okezie

Types of Social Networking Sites

Social media has become a popular way to share information and content with others. Social Networking Sites are the sites that host social media. For those new to social media, it is good to know what types of social network sites there are and what each does.

Forums

Probably one of the first sites to allow for social interaction, forums have been around for a while. Forums are typically comprised of people with a similar interest. Users have conversations around a particular given topic and build up relationships with each other. They provide a great deal of information about a topic and is a great way to share your knowledge.

Blogs

People like to journal, and with the internet they wanted to share their lives more openly. Originally called web-logs, these personal journals have advanced. Some personal journals still exist, while other blogs discuss a particular niche or interest.

Micro-Blogging

Similar to blogs, this is a micro journal of what is happening right now. These sites can share what is going on in an individual life or can be information the individual wants to share. Major news events are now breaking online via microblogs. The best known microblog is Twitter.

PhotoSharing

Social Networking Sites are known for sharing of information, in this case photos. Users upload their pictures to Photo Sharing Sites. Rather than having to send individual pictures to family, you send a single link. You can tag your photos with keywords related to the image and allow people to comment. Some popular photosharing sites are Flickr and Picasa.

Video Sharing

YouTube is the video sharing site that almost everyone has seen. Videos are shared online, keywords are added so people can search for those terms or for the video title. People can comment if the video owner allows. Like other forms of social media it allows for a more personal look of the actual user.

Professional

Networking has long been touted as an asset in professional circles. Networking allows the person to connect with people and by those connections meet other professionals that person knows. Professional social media allows for that type of opportunity online. Thus if you move away from your home town you can still remain connected to your ex-coworkers and others in your profession. Linked In is one of the top professional social networking sites.

Social

After you have worked with people a while, they may become your friends. Then you have friends from church, from your school, and friends you have met in a wide variety of ways. Social networking sites are about being social, so there are sites purely for allowing users to stay in touch with people whom they know. While MySpace was the leader, the current leader is Facebook. It is growing around the world.

Bookmarking

The major purpose of these social networking sites is the sharing of information. If you read a web page that is interesting, informative, or inspirational you may choose to bookmark it. By doing this you are saying that you like it. Your friends will learn what you liked and can choose to read it. Pages that many people bookmark become popular and drive others to that page as well. Digg, Delicious, and StumpleUpon are very popular bookmarking websites.

Other formats

There are other types of social networking sites out there, some are very similar to the ones mentioned here. Many sites have a major form of socializing and then use the other types as a other ways for users to interact. People love to socialize and interact, so this is a growing field with ever more sites.



Source by MJ Schrader

The Rewards of Business and Social Networking

I have realized that reward is one of the motivations of man. While growing up, we were often taught that success is the reward of hard work. So, we found ourselves working so hard to achieve success. The same holds true for laziness and complacency. They too have their rewards. Most people, at some point in their lives, realise that they could have been better off if they had taken time earlier to weigh the rewards of excelling in their chosen fields. Many expected success to fall on them in their old age. But it hardly does.

The world only pays back in direct proportion to what you put in. Weak networking efforts result in a below-average network of contacts, while calculated and aggressive networking activities yield tremendous proceeds in a powerful network. I am sure we all desire the latter. Most times the rewards are beyond you, spilling over to your children and loved ones.

Most employees of organizations are often demotivated when the rewards of the job are not commensurate with the efforts expended. Surveys have often revealed that high performing establishments have a reward system in place for their workers. Ironically, most employees do not take time to consider the rewards of excelling at their work. They, thus, fail to keep in view the picture of the reward. Consequently, there is no inspiration to drive them to perform above average or do the extraordinary

Networking is a valuable skill for people across all cadres – from the security personnel to the Chief Executive Officer. I remember often being assisted by a particular security officer to get a good parking space in one of the banks in Lagos. Every time I visited the bank, he quickly stepped up with a smile and gave a helping hand. One day, he boldly walked up to me and said, “Sir, please pardon my disturbance. My son studied Accountancy and has just finished his National Youth Service. I would be happy if you can help him get a job.”

I was stunned. I told him I did not have any vacancy for his son then. But I gave him my card and told him to tell his son to drop his CV at my office. He did. About two weeks later, I was with a friend who needed an accountant in a new firm he just set up. Guess who came to my mind? Of course, the son of that security man! That is the reward of networking in action.

Please note that I am not implying that it works like this all the time. But I am certain that your chances of getting a faster payoff in life will be further brightened by effective networking.

The same holds true for vision-based networking. Once you have a vivid picture of what you stand to gain if you network effectively, your attitude towards networking will be more proactive. Remember the biblical story of David who singlehandedly brought down Goliath, the giant. Before David left for the battlefront to face Goliath, he had gone around the Israelites’ camp to inquire about what the rewards for killing Goliath would be. And the rewards were good enough to motivate him to go for the kill. Same way, you need to see the reward in your mind’s eye. There must be a personal buy in. It has to become a personal passion.

Before I got married, I wrote down what the rewards of getting married would be. I value a productive kitchen and the sight of children running around the house. I value being responsible and having a soul mate. These are a few rewards that motivated me to seek a partner. Seeing the rewards would create the inner inspiration to pursue and acquire the resources necessary to live your dreams.

Many years ago, I wrote down the rewards of networking, and I have ever since inscribed them in my heart to serve as motivation for me whenever a networking moment arises. I clearly remember a one-liner in my list that states, ‘Ferdinand, networking would take you to a place better than where you are.’ So, when a networking opportunity arises, I hear a voice screaming from within me, “Ferdinand, there is a place better than where you are, bigger than where you are, greater than you. You have the chance to move ahead. Take it, take it, and take it!” I call this my networking action-booster.

In my knowledge transfer sessions, I often tell participants that they should avoid complacency in networking and must be passionate about building their networking account. Act as if your networking account is one of your bank accounts, because it truly is. Always improve your networking ability; the fatter the account, the better for you and the better the rewards.

Just as the money in your bank account pays your bills, so the quality of your network creates the opportunities that guarantee you consistent business and income. The same way you ensure your account doesn’t go into debit is the same way you ensure your network account does not go dormant. You have to keep building your account. The dividends can be a lifesaver.

I realize that one key strategy for getting ahead faster in life is to leverage on your contacts and your contacts’ contacts. How many people do you know? How many quality and influential people do you know? Think back to your days in school, how many of your friends do you still have in your network?

It is amazing to find that there are people who attended that same institution but who shy away from alumni meetings. Perhaps, they do not realise the power of such networks. The rewards of active participation in that kind of association cannot be overemphasized. There were job seekers who have become employed, while those hitherto employed have gotten better appointments. The smart networkers have expanded their networks. The thinking networker knows that such associations are needful for advancement in career and business.

It is appalling to find people meandering all year long without a single networking platform which is meant to be a river where they fish for business, for opportunities, and for people. I agree that some people have the capacity to fish in several places, but how many do you have? I often ask participants at my seminars how many networking platforms they fish from. You may need to ask yourself that same question regularly.

I remember having lunch with a very aggressive networker one day, and he said to me, “Sir, you may find this funny, but I have three simple networking platforms from which I have always reaped massive rewards. They are receptions, lifts and fast food restaurants. I visit these places every day and I realized that a great deal of good contacts can be harvested there.” I smiled. I told him how impressed I was with his smartness, because we all visit those places too but without the mindset of a savvy networker. Maybe the next time you find yourself in those places, you can think of doing some networking.

Due to my knowledge about the rewards of networking, I was able to design a special-reward marketing approach that has paid off for me. Firstly, I check out my lifestyle or major areas of my life where I require help most times. Let us consider some – medical (a doctor), legal (a lawyer), property (a real estate consultant), and bank charges (a reliable banker).

This is what I do. I create a network plan to know at least 10 experts in all these areas. I take time to meet them one-on-one. I create and sustain all the relationships. So, whenever I have a challenge in any of those fields, I am sure to get the best advice or help, at the best price – and sometimes at no price!

I know the best rates on my funds; I get advice on how to negotiate better rates and the best paying financial investments. The legal network helps me know how to handle my legal obligations. It guides me on how not to get exposed to or entangled in sensitive legal matters. The networks pay off. If I need to buy a house, then I talk to my network on real estate. I know what the industry is paying for a particular real estate; I get the best advice on when to buy or sell and how to get fantastic deals.

Sometimes, my network just shares useful information with me by virtue of my keeping in touch. I have received free newsletters that have helped me to save millions for my clients through shared information that was a guide to their business decisions.

The question now is, “How have you categorized your networks?” Have you taken time to list your contacts? Have you segmented them across their area of operation? Can you structure your expected reward from these network groups?

Our actions are consciously or unconsciously driven and motivated by rewards. We are willing to make sacrifices because of the expectations of rewards. If the prize is not worth it, nobody will pay the price. Let me say upfront that networking requires that you make sacrifices; that you pay the price. Networking will place a lot of demand on you. Demand on your time, demand on your emotion, demand on your finances, demand on your relationships and demand on your patience.

I know that it is not easy to walk up to a complete stranger, especially those of status and initiate a conversation. Sometimes you will be embarrassed, at other times you may be harassed. Networking can be expensive. Joining associations or groups, dressing for the occasion, meeting your financial obligations can put pressure on your finances. Networking can be time consuming. You may need to sacrifice your rest and sleep time. But these are essential sacrifices to make if you must make the contacts and create the connections that will help you fast track the achievement of your goals, dreams and aspirations in life.

If you focus on the price to pay, the sacrifices to make and the demands on you the tendency is very high that you will give up mid-way. And nobody who gives up deserves the benefits of networking. But if you identify and focus on the rewards and benefits of networking even when the challenges show up, you are willing to face them. You will see the demand on your time, money and resources as investments and not as expenses. A networker is like the hurdles runner. He realizes that the only way to win the race is to focus on the tape, not on the hurdles. The hurdles are only ladders to the podium. Without the hurdles, there would be no race; without the race, there would be no medals. Without the price, there would be no prize.

So, the motivation is the prize. If the crown is not worth it, nobody will go to the cross. What then are the rewards, benefits and prizes of networking? Now, let us consider some of the reasons it is so important for you to acquire and use the skills of professional networkers and why it is so important for you to improve on your networking skills.

Reward 1: Knowledge and experiences of other people

The first benefit or reward for business and social networking is that networking exposes you to the knowledge and experiences of other people. Because of networking, you are connected to people and groups with diverse backgrounds and experiences. So here you are with just a few years in your career connecting to people who have invested three quarters of their lifetime acquiring education and working in diverse places.

You can plug in and draw from those years of experience by just connecting with them. You are also able to share your own experiences with those who can benefit from them. Ideas flow freely during networking. Information is freely given during business and social networking. You are able to learn from other people’s success stories and mistakes. Others are also able to learn from yours.

Networking creates a large pool of human resources you can share your ideas, your dreams, plans and aspirations with. Two good heads they say are better than one. Imagine where you have access to hundreds or thousands of good heads.

Reward 2: Massive opportunities are opened

Networking exposes you to potential opportunities. You find yourself centered in the midst of potential opportunities that would ordinarily not have come your way at this point in your life. You have the privilege of joining associations, clubs, gyms, resident associations, religious groups and so on with men and women old enough to be your parents. Peter Drucker once said that more business decisions occur over lunch and dinner than any other place, yet no MBA courses are given on the subject of business and social networking.

You are more likely to know about job and business opportunities if you have a large and robust network. Some companies in Nigeria do not advertise job openings and contracts. Only those who work in those companies get to know. Guess what, only those who know the people that work in those companies also get to know. It is called knowing by knowing those who know. So you can increase your chances of knowing by increasing the number of people who know that you know. That is what networking is all about.

I am of the belief that the more you grow in your careers and business the more the openings and deals you get should come from referrals and advocacy; not from blind prospecting.

Reward 3. Less hard work

The third benefit of networking is that networking is about less hard work. If you are a sales person and you have a target to meet, you have two options. One option is for you to adopt the cold call technique; which is to knock on as many doors as possible or blindly call as many people as possible, attempt to see the decision makers, book appointments, make sales presentations, start following up and hope that some of them will eventually buy from you. But that’s a very laborious way of prospecting and selling. That is called working hard, but hardly working.

The other option open to you as a sales person is to use the contacts of the people you know to secure appointments. In other words, you are exploiting the contacts that people have made over the years. It is called using close contacts to gain access to distant contacts. Only business and social networking offers you this platform. Networking fast tracks the sales process.

Rewards 4: Reap where you did not sow

The fourth benefit of business and social networking is that networking gives you the power to leverage on other people’s network. Networking unconsciously gives you the power to enter other people’s network. People have networked for years and have built very powerful networks in the process. “Can you refer me to five people I can introduce my business to?” could lead to a positive answer that will spiral you into their own bank of network. Your own duty will be to maintain your relationship with such persons and build on the others in their network.

Furthermore, if you understand the principle of compounding relationships, you are able to expand your own network and leverage from other people’s network. Just by joining a group or association, just by introducing yourself to people, establishing a contact and building the relationship, you are now able to leverage on the contacts, networks and relationships that others have acquired over the years.

You didn’t attend the same secondary school or university with me, you are not from my village, you don’t leave in my estate; but just by connecting with me and managing the relationship well, you begin to meet my class and school mates, my neighbours, my relatives and my friends. You also begin to leverage on their contacts, connections and referrals. So if I have a network of successful people, women of influence, consent givers and support team, once you join my network you will be exposed to these people and inevitably expand your own network.

So, you are just 35 years old and you meet a man of 70 years; a retired top professional or public servant who had worked for 35 years; had helped hundreds of people in key positions of authority today, and has built a formidable network of people. Imagine the opportunity that meeting this person offers you! Having him in your network offers you the opportunity to showcase yourself to people who understand what value means and who have the ability to help you achieve your aspiration in life. Networking is the strategy for business and career acceleration. My friends, you need more than yourself to save you.

Reward 5: Strength in number

The fifth reward of business and social networking is that a good network will replace the weakness of an individual with the strength of a group. Alone, I can only achieve little; but with others practically anything is possible. We are all familiar with the story of the tower of babel.

People struggle to achieve lofty dreams and aspirations because of a limited network. Even in physical exercises, you are more likely to stretch yourself when exercising with others than when you are exercising alone. In the gym, you are more likely to lift an extra KG, run five more minutes on the thread mill because of the motivation and challenge from others.

Reward 6: Break barriers and protocol

The sixth reward of business and social networking is that the right network gives you the power to break barriers and open shut doors.

A good network gives you the power to enter places where on your own, you cannot enter. If you are sales person or a business person, I am certain that you will agree with me that the first hurdle you have to cross to make a sale or get business is to get an appointment to see the key decision maker. You might have a fantastic product, a great idea or wonderful service, which will add value to individuals and businesses. But unless the prospects see you, your products, ideas and service are useless.

You might have good qualification, great competence, fantastic pedigree and so on. Unless the head of recruitment or the chief executive of the company you want to work for sees you or hears about you, you will remain unemployed.

There are four ways of getting others see to you, listen to your presentation and evaluate your proposition. One option is for you to first write and send a letter/mail and then either place a call or physically visit the place to secure an appointment or check the status of your proposal. The other option is for you to visit the company without any previous communication and ask to see the decision makers. The third option is to have somebody secure an appointment for you and you now go and show up. The last option is to have someone within or outside of the organization take you by hand to the decision maker and have him or her listen to you. My question is: which do you think offers you better chances of being seen or listened to? I am sure you are torn in-between the third and the fourth options. That is the reward of networking.

How many businesses have you lost because you couldn’t get an appointment to see the decision maker? How many of your ideas are wasting because people who need to listen to you have not listened to you? And they have not listened to you because you haven’t met them. Is it possible that with your qualification, experience and competence that you deserve better than the place you are currently working and more than you are currently earning? But you are chained because nobody can give you access to the companies that need you? Is it possible that your ideas can solve the economic problem of this country if only the president can grant you audience?

Is it possible that you have the potential to win the Grammy awards if only someone can introduce you to a good record label? Is it possible that you would have been playing in the best team in Europe if only someone introduced you the national team coaches? That is the benefit of networking. The more you network, demonstrate value and compound your network, the higher your chances of meeting the people that will open doors for you. Every door has a key and people hold the keys to all the doors. Your responsibility and my responsibility is to keep making contacts and creating connections until we find the people who hold the keys to the doors we want to enter and make them like us enough to open the doors for us. Networking can help you break protocol.

Reward 7: Achieve your goals and aspirations faster

The seventh benefit is that business and social networking can help you reach your goals faster. For most people, the right network is the missing link between their talent, education, experience, product or ideas and accelerated career and business success. A good network is the missing link between a fat pay cheque and a Salvation Army food.

There are countless stories of people who have not and may not reach their goals because they lack networks that can propel them to advance faster. Great networks are, in my view, business catalysts that ensure you reach your goals faster. I know many businesses that came into being because a man with a dream made a presentation to a network group that believed in him.

While people spend all their lives visiting banks for loans to actualize their dreams, the never-say-die networker simply sends out letters to key people in his or her network, sells the idea to them and the funds come rolling in.

Reward 8: Be a blessing to others

The eight benefit of networking is that a good network can help you help others. How many of your siblings have you helped secure employment because of whom you know? What have you attracted to your community because of people in your network? When was the last time you made a phone call to rescue a friend from a desperate situation? These and much more are some of the great things a good well-oiled network can do for you.

How long your younger ones or relatives stay at home after graduating with good grades is to a large extent a function of the quality of your network. How long it takes you to get another job when you lose your job is a function of your network. What have you attracted to your community on account of your network? How many times have you made a call that got someone out of trouble? If your network is not helping you help yourself and others, you either don’t have a network or you have the wrong network.

Reward 9: Platforms for making quality friends

The ninth benefit is that business and social networking gives you the power to make quality friends, can provide you with real job security and gives you the power to become better than yourself. Networking also enhances the number and quality of the referrals and advocates you secure. So even when you are not there and opportunities in your areas of core competence come up you have people in your network speaking for you. Meanwhile, these are businesses you have been struggling to get by prospecting, booking appointments, making presentations, following up, etc. But just on account of advocacy, these businesses practically look and come for you. Most of the businesses and briefs I get today come from people who heard about me from those in my network. So, networking is a strategy for business acceleration.

Reward 10: Helps you monitor and assess the direction of your life

The tenth benefit of business and social networking is that you can also evaluate the direction of your life by looking at your network. Do your friends and colleagues often complain about the barriers they face in life? Do they often gossip about other people? Do they blame everyone but themselves for their status in life? If these are the kind of people you spend your time with, then of course you are in the wrong network. When you begin to network you will start meeting people who think and talk differently from your current friends.

Networking helps you increase your chances of meeting people who take responsibility for their situation; who look for solutions, not problems and who are ambitious and determined. People, who face the same challenges that you face, but have a positive mindset. When you meet such people, they will challenge you to drop the self-limiting beliefs that your negative friends have bombarded your mind with. The more you network, the more you meet people of different idiosyncrasies, beliefs, values and ambition. They help you evaluate yourself and circle of friends. Those who limit themselves to few friends and groups loose this benefit of networking.

If most of your friends have not built or bought their own houses, you would think it’s okay not have built yours. If most of your friends are having issues in their relationships, you would think it’s the norm to have issues; if most of your friends are not meeting their targets at work, you would think that it’s a pervasive situation. But when you begin to expand your network, you will start meeting people of your age or younger who have acquired their own houses; you will meet people who are enjoying their relationships; people in the same industry with you who are meeting and exceeding their targets. Please take critical note of this point. Wood destroys wood. Only iron sharpens a ready iron.

No wonder Sandra Renaux stated, “motivated minds networking together can be a powerful force creating desirable outcomes. So, surround yourself with the best possible influences while you strive to bring out the best of each other in your quest for constant and never ending improvement”.

Reward 11: Do you like the man in the mirror?

The eleventh benefit of business and social networking is that networking will serve as a mirror on the wall for you. When you look in the mirror, the image you see is in the mirror is a reflection of the people you spend your most time with. At this point, permit me to give you this advice on how to allocate your network. I strongly suggest that 50% of your friends, those you spend the most time with and those in your network should be those who are better and more successful than you. They should be those who have achieved most of the things you want to achieve in life. Then, 30% of your friends and in those in your network should be those at the same level with you. And only 20% of the people you spend your most time with should be those that you are better than.

You see, if you spend most of your time with people that you are better than, when you look in the mirror the tendency is to think that you are doing well. When you spend most of your time with people at the same level with you, you would think everybody is facing the same challenges that you are facing. You would think everybody is like you.

However, when you spend more time with people that are better than you, when you look in the mirror, what you will see is what you can become. And that’s because people better than you will directly or indirectly challenge and motivate you. When you spend time with people better than you, you will begin to see how human they are and yet how successful they have become. You begin to learn the principles of success. You see how and why they excel. So you can say to yourself, if these people can do it, I can also succeed if I am willing to pay the price. Before long, you will acquire the traits and habits of people who succeed.

Reward 12: The power to be bigger than yourself

I remember some years ago when I got referred to a millionaire financial expert who became fond of me. I kept in touch, ensuring I sent him weekly text messages. Surprisingly, one day, he invited me to lunch alongside his millionaire friends. I did not take the invitation for granted. I was prepared. I was dressed for the occasion. My business card was there with me. I did not have money, but I had plans. When we arrived at the lunch venue (wow! what a place!) and sat down, he did an introduction. To my utmost surprise, he announced, “Guys, meet my millionaire friend, Ferdinand.” I was not a millionaire yet. I was just a man with a millionaire’s mindset. I shook hands with these people and we exchanged cards. That event made me bigger than myself. Since then, we have remained friends and I have done deals worth millions with them.

Reward 13. A good network can provide you real job security

Some years ago, working in the bank was the in-thing and bankers felt they had job security. Today, many people who relied on such ”prestigious” jobs have lost their positions on the payroll, while those who used the platform of their workplace to network have resumed work in new places. So, one other thing that the right network can do for you is that it can provide you real job security.



Source by Ferdinand M Ibezim

Benefits and Drawbacks of Business Networking

Business networking has a world of positive benefits. However, with everything positive, comes a few negatives at least. So, without further ado, let’s begin with the positive/pros in support of business networking:

The first point on the up side is;

You’re being active in the accumulation of business contacts and letting yourself be seen. Many people complain that they are just not meeting enough of the right people to help in their career direction.

When you are actively involved in business networking, you are increasing your chances of meeting those right people. Furthermore, if you are networking correctly by sharing referrals, introducing people, and following up with those you meet, the rewards will speak for themselves.

The 2nd positive point is;

Your 1 on 1 people skills will slowly develop into expert status. This is a benefit not talked about a lot but through trial and error, building great relationships will seem effortless. Consider the fact that when your 1 on 1 people skills are adequate, you will see a phenomenal increase in the positive results you get using all other communication, for example; telephone, e-mail, etc.

3rd, on the optimistic side is;

After being consistent, you will notice your own center of influence expand. If you are engaged actively in meeting, communicating, and generally helping many individuals, you will be liked as well as respected. When these type of things occur, your center of influence grows and you will become well-respected by default.

4, on the high side is;

Networking regularly gives you the opportunity to speak a lot about your profession. You will have the opportunity to educate many people about what you do when you meet them. This situation causes you to be on your toes and more knowledgeable about your profession.

The 5th benefit of business networking is;

You are greatly increasing your overall options. While networking for better business returns, you will meet an abundance of individuals who aren’t directly connected to your goals. Meeting individuals like this can benefit you in other ways like; finding a good plumber, helping you to get hired at a new company, and any other specialist in a particular field. A personal referral usually holds more merit.

And now for the alternatives or the down-side/cons of business networking:

#1. If you are an extreme example of a socially inhibited individual, getting out and networking could be very traumatic for you. I’m not saying that it’s something you can’t overcome but it could very well turn out to be a not so positive experience.

#2. You may find several events that may not be to your liking. This is an occupational hazard of business networking in which you attend business networking events with high expectations but are disappointed by the outcome. As with anything, this is not justification to give up but it does happen.

#3. People in your newly found network been as receptive as you would like. It is very true that many people talk a good game but in the heat of the moment, when you need them most, they can let you down.

#4. An unruly, undesirable individual may enter your life through networking. I know that this is an aspect that’s not discussed too frequently but I must be honest. Sometimes you can attract individuals through your friendly networking activities, which could prove energy draining if not detrimental to your career.

And #5. Networking doesn’t work for everybody. Yes, there are some individuals out there, as rare as they may be, where networking and building relationships with different people just isn’t their cup of tea. A small minority of people will find that no matter how hard they try, it just won’t deliver the desired results. This is sad but it is true.

So now you see the pros and cons on both ends. Personally I believe that business networking is very important and can work for most people in a positive way. Now, you have to ask yourself, “Is it bad or good?” The answer is “Good” and “Bad”. It all depends on the perspective of “you”, the reader.

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Source by J. H. Lee