Thursday, April 23, 2009

Prioritize Networking

No matter how "busy" you are, you cannot ignore the importance of your network.

The people who don't enjoy certain parts of networking will often claim they are "too busy", but when you examine their schedule they have simply decided to make other activities (ones in which they are more confident and comfortable) the priority.

The activities they skip vary, but most often include attending corporate events in their business community (which lead to meeting new and unique people) and following up with individuals with whom they do not yet have an established relationship. They make their focus of networking existing contacts, which while important, can only take you to the level you are already accustomed.

The real power in networking comes from ever expanding your spheres of influence. However, to do this effectively, you must invest time in helping others succeed. This involves taking risks, as the people you meet may or may not help you in return.

I have written several books on the topic of the power of business relationships and networking, and I cover the subject on this blog - and I never said any of this is EASY. If you look at the word "networking" you will find the word "WORK" smack in the middle.

I have talked with thousands of people who have excuses on why such things are "fluffy" or not a priority, and have never been convinced that anyone who is indifferent about networking was anything other than uncomfortable or shy when it comes to the execution of the process.

Introverts will claim that it is "easier" for extroverts, and they are right. But math is easier for mathematicians, and I still have to balance my bank statement!

I have had executives walk out of meetings where I was counseling their employees on the best ways to network. They know it is important and want their team to do it, but they run off to their office to avoid having to admit they are not on board with the activities for themselves. They justify if they don't sit through my presentation, then they cannot be held accountable by their own team.

Examine your own attitude toward networking and building a personal brand. If any of the above hits home (and you realize you are not making it a priority), then challenge yourself to take 30 minutes a week to focus on your networking plan. This does not mean 30 minutes of actual networking activities (that comes later), but instead I am recommending you schedule a weekly session that makes you focus on your brand strategy. If you have no strategy, you have no brand. But that is a choice, too.

Have A Great Day.


1 comment:

John Hyman said...

This is absolutely spot on! But it is imperative that the networker has set a realistic expection for success. Networking may take a longer period of time to be effective for brand building-like advertising it must be repetitive to be effective. But the investment necessary to build a stong networking process in any business is minimal.