I met many people who say “I don’t have anyone to help me to succeed in life, career or business. Unless you are connected, your dreams are doomed”. Yes, we need others, however, people are not born with networks. We need to develop our abilities to network irrespective of the line of work or your pursuits. Every one of us knows someone who knows someone.
Let me get into your space a little bit!
- How many new relationships have you forged in the last 6 months?
- How many networking sessions have you attended?
- How many new contacts if any, have you followed through?
- How many other people have you introduced to others?
Having a network is about taking the initial step, initiating those vital conversations. Some networks will work and some will not but the first rejection does not mean the end of pursuing your goals. You also want to be part of networks that align with your value system.
While networking, remember what Zig Ziglar said, “you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”.
What am I saying?
Networking is about helping others and not always about you. Without reciprocity, it becomes stifling and when people feel used, they will shut you out of their lives. Once you start to understand this, you will save yourself lots of disappointments.
“Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. It’s about cultivating relationships”Ivan Misner
Build effective networks, not transactional relationships. It is imperative that you have a tribe with whom you can foster win-win relationships.
I suggest that you follow these recommendations:
- Know why you need a network: Know what you want and the value you are able to deliver to others.
- Start where you are: When you scroll down to the last contact on your android phone, you will see the total number of contacts you have. Get to understand the value of people around you and how you can reciprocate.
- Attend networking events (including social media): Identify organizations, business schools, chamber of businesses, social media pages that address issues of your industry or career. Forge and nurture relationships, do not gate crush people’s spaces.
- Turn business cards into relationships: This simply means that you need to find common ground and initiate follow through. These cards should become a conversation tool. Have yours handy as well.
- Be trustworthy: Networking is about others letting you into their space, use their time and information discreetly. Do not abuse the trust they have put in you.
- Connect others: Be comfortable to introduce others with those who will contribute to their growth.
Relationships will not just initiate themselves. Stand up, feel uncomfortable and engage. The mistake many people commit is to shoot themselves down and seeing themselves not worthy to approach others. We are relational by nature.
Tex Hlalele is a Personal Mastery, Leadership & Organisational Effectiveness Specialist. Book Tex to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement on +2764 656 6174 or visit http://www.dreamsmadepossible.co.za/contact.html. He is the author of the book, Face the person in the mirror.