When it comes to networking, the focus seems always to be on quantity. How many cards in your rolodex? How many names in your computer? How many LinkedIn Connections?
Unfortunately, in our quest to supersize our network, we often forget about the importance of its quality. Let's face it: a network of ten people who continuously work on our behalf, giving us business leads and career help, is far more valuable than 1000 people who won't return our calls.
Here are several ways to improve the quality of those in your network:
1) Fish where the fish are: Attend events where people who can help you also attend. Nothing is wrong with kids soccer games or neighborhood BBQs, but make sure your "target" type of person will also be there. (Often they aren't.)
2) Meet new people: Once you're at the networking event, ask open-ended questions to people you haven't yet met, in order to understand their needs... and determine if a relationship will be mutually beneficial. If you do spend time with people you know, as them to introduce you to folks they know at the event. An introduction is an implicit endorsement, and highly valuable.
3) Give to Get: Add the most value to those who can help you the most. Consider sending them news clippings, introducing them to people in your network, or giving them business referrals: anything, so long as it is valuable to them. The more you deposit into your network bank, the more you can later withdraw.
This week's action item: Who are your ten most valuable networking contacts? And what have you done for them this month - that they value? Answer these two key questions, and resolve to do something for each of these core ten people... within the week.
Randall Craig is an expert on Career Planning, Work-Life Balance, and Networking; to find out how his workshops, webinars, and keynotes can help your team or add to your event, contact him through www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com, or by email at email@example.com.
Make It Happen Tipsheet
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Copyright © 2009 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: May 5, 2009