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Not far behind is finding oneself in a room of total strangers. Even if you don’t fear that situation, you might NOT be totally comfortable with it. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
One surefire method to overcome the anxiety of being at events is to Have The Right Frame of Mind. While this may sound obvious, there are plenty of people who trip themselves up at networking events before they actually show up.
Remember that networking works, although not always exactly as you had hoped. Before you embark on the networking event, you need to truly believe that the process works and that your mere presence has set that process in motion.
While your mere presence is important, you will totally undermine your efforts if you bring with you anything but a positive disposition. Now, not every day, month or year, for that matter, can be a good one, but there is something good about each. Reflect on the positive aspects of your personal and professional life. Do what you can to be of uplifting spirits. Remember, while support groups can be a networking opportunity, most networking events are not designed to be support groups. Leave your worries at the door, to the extent possible.
Finally, embark on any networking event with a sincere expectation of the outcome. It may not be all that you hoped for, since there is no guarantee that you will get a new client out of it. But know this – something will come from you being there. You might meet someone that can refer you or put you one step closer to a new client. You might reconnect with a former client or center of influence or gain a piece of information that holds untold value. There is a plethora of potential benefit that can come from any networking event. You will never get it all, but you will always likely get something.
As a business person, you need things today (clients, information, and contacts). Guess what? You are going to need those things tomorrow, and the next day, and next year. Thus, creating and nurturing productive relationships is an ongoing endeavor. Your job is never done.
Know this: Some days your networking efforts are going to seem worthwhile. It is easy to keep after it. Other days your networking efforts are going to seem like a complete waste. You will want to swear it off. Don’t.
You need to have faith. Opportunity comes from the most unlikely places and it is all the result of productive relationships. Never quit trying to build Know, Like, and Trust.
To summarize, remember that to be successful at anything, knowledge is important. What is vital, however, is being proficient at networking. Networking is about building solid relationship where people know you, like you, and trust you. Those things are achieved through certain actions and interactions with those in your network. These actions involve consistent generosity, reliability, and commitment to others, just to mention a few.
Whether you are 19, 90 or somewhere in between, you know more people now than you could possibly meet over the next year (maybe two or three). Think about it. You know people in your community. You know people from high school, college, and your plethora of career moves (or those moving careers around you). You know people through your kids, parents, or family. You know lots of people.
While meeting new people is always an important part of networking, there is a tremendous advantage to networking with familiar names and faces – they already Know, Like and Trust you. That is a tremendous head start to productive and effective networking.
Given that, an important part of building your business or career network is to dig into your “now electronic” rolodexes, card files or little black books and mind your existing contacts. Reconnect with these old friends and acquaintances. Get caught up on their lives. Think of ways you can help them. Share with them about your professional endeavors. Remember to ask for assistance.
The “Know, Like, and Trust” is already there. All you need to do is capitalize on it.
There is an Indian proverb that says, “An eagle that chases two rabbits, catches none.” This is true of relationships as well. You will not be able to develop lasting Know, Like, and Trust if you are focused on multiple relationships at any one time. In fact, the more relationships you attempt to develop at once, the less effective you become.
The point to this topic is this: As you are out being involved, do not feel the need to race about meeting as many people as possible … having quick, shallow conversations … collecting business cards and then haphazardly following up with a plethora of people you can hardly remember.
Rather work to have involved conversations with just a few people (and then attend another gathering and do the same). Learn about people. Invest time in who they are. Be genuinely interested. Conduct yourself so that when you follow up, you can do so with substance.
By working to develop relationships one person at a time, you become more effective at developing relationships. In short, people will Know, Like, and Trust you.
To be a successful in any business or profession, you cannot just hole-up in front of your computer and work the phone. You need to shower up, brush your teeth, and get out amongst people. Find groups and organizations to join.
Know this, however, you cannot just belong. You cannot just be in the community. You cannot just be in the Chamber. You cannot just be part of the Church. You cannot just belong.
To effectively network … to develop strong relationships … to build Know, Like, and Trust, you have to get involved. Roll up your sleeves (actually or figuratively) and lend a hand. Be an officer in a group. Be a committee member of an organization. Be something (anything) more than just a name on a membership roster.
Here is the test as to whether you are sufficiently involved – Answer this: If you didn’t show up, would you be missed?
If the answer is no, you need to work harder to get involved. By doing so, you raise your level of exposure and demonstrate your level of commitment to something more than just you. When you do these things, others will not be able to help but Know, Like, and Trust you.
If you want people to “Know, Like, and Trust” you remember There Is No Shame In Asking. Call it “human nature” or call it the “American Spirit,” but we are hardwired to help one another. Certainly the aftermath of the events of September 11th (or any major tragedy) make this abundantly clear. People will go to great lengths to help one another.
With this, the only thing that separates you from the help that you need is you asking. Dare to ask. Remember, if you are focused on giving and helping others, it is only fair that you attempt to partake from the same process.
• Let others know what kind of help you want.
• Describe the types of people you are trying to meet.
• Explain to your centers of influence how they can help you.
• Solicit people for information on groups or opportunities where you can present the benefits of your particular business or service.
Understand this, if you are polite in asking of others and appreciative of whatever they give (even if it is only time), people will come through. Not everyone, but enough to make it all worthwhile. Equally important, however, when you reach out to others, you are in essence affirming that they have value to offer. It is a wonderful compliment. For that, they will be flattered. As backwards as it might seem, they will Know, Like, and Trust you for reaching out to them.
It is easy to do and we are all guilty of it – dismissing someone as being of little or no consequence to us. Maybe it was a gas station attendant. Maybe it was a receptionist. Maybe it was the kid delivering the paper.
Know this, however, while everyone may not be your next prospective client, everyone knows someone that might be … not everyone will fit neatly into your network as a center of influence, but everyone is connected to someone who could … not everyone is going to be chock full of useful information, but you can bet they sure know a person who is.
In short, everyone has value and every relationship has potential. Knowing this, everyone deserves and should receive the respect and attention that you would offer your best clients, centers of influence, or prime information source. If you consistently do this, everyone will Know, Like, and Trust you (and people who do not know you will want to somehow be associated with you).
“How Do I Go About Getting Others To Know, Like & Trust Me?” In the world of business and professional networking, that is the $64,000 question.
One Answer is Never Stop Giving.
The Golden Rule of Networking states “give first, get second.” In short, if you want to get things from your network, you need to give to it. Focus on giving to others … give referrals … give additional contacts … give opportunities … give information … give encouragement … give support … give, give, give.
When you give to others they cannot help but Know, Like and Trust you. As a result, the people you give to will want to return the generosity. In addition, you will develop the reputation of being a “generous person.” This will inspire others to want to contribute to you, as they come to believe that you are likely to give back.
This is powerful and should become almost a daily habit.
• Share information with others and they will share information back.
• Give referrals to centers of influence in your network and they will go out of their way to return the deed.
• Help your prospective clients with things unrelated to what you sell and you will be forever on the top of their mind (perhaps referring you clients down the road).
• Be supportive of your clients and vendors and they will “rave” to others about you.
With everyone you encounter, ask yourself, “In what way could I help them?” When the answers come to you, take action. That will build Know, Like, and Trust like nothing else.
We create solid relationships with people in our lives when we set about to make three things happen. This can be distilled down into three simple words: Know, Like & Trust.
You build relationships when people get to know you and you get to know them. You build relationships when you get the people you know to like you. And you build relationships when you do the things that allow other people to trust you.
Here is a simple reality – people do business with people they Know, Like & Trust. You do business with people you Know, Like & Trust. All things being equal, you will do business with someone you Know, Like & Trust.
You likely have the accountant, banker, or financial planner in your life because, all things being equal, you Know, Like & Trust them. In fact, all things being UNequal, you would still opt to do business with the person you Know, Like, & Trust. Think about it. If you have automobile insurance, there is no question you could find the same coverage for less. Yet, you stay with the same agent. Why? You Know, Like & Trust that person.
Know, Like & Trust is a powerful component of human nature. If you can get people coming to the conclusion that they Know, Like & Trust you (this is at a very gut level), they will more likely be moved to help you … refer you clients … introduce you to centers of influence … direct you towards beneficial opportunities.
“It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know.” Chances are you’ve heard that once or twice in your life from a well-meaning parent, a mentor, or supportive colleague. But how much truth is there to this?
Who you know IS more important than what you know…in some regards. The world has more than its share of brilliant people that don’t reach their true potential because they work in a vacuum with limited contact with other people. At the same time, far less brilliant people rise to great heights merely on the connections they have. Bill Gates is not the smartest computer person. He is simply a smart computer mind with a plethora of connections.
But as much as WHO you know is important, the world also has more than its share of individuals that seemingly know lots of people but gain very little from this network. How is this possible? Quite simply, it is more than just WHO you know.
Effective networking is not just about knowing lots of people, making dozens of phone calls, posting on LinkedIn, and attending events. Nor is effective networking just about connecting with and being connected to others. Effective networking is about having meaningful relationships with those you are connected to.
Success will not come from filling your database with the names of thousands of people but from creating relationships with a reasonable number of those people. Which people?
• Existing contacts and centers of influence, such as bankers, attorneys, accountants, and outplacement professionals.
• A wide variety of people whose businesses are directly related, indirectly related, and even seemingly unrelated to what you do.
Whatever the case, the important thing is to build a solid RELATIONSHIP with them.