Networking is choosing interdependence over isolation and realizing the power of cooperation over competition. It links people and information to one another for the mutual benefit of everyone involved.
One of the reasons networking has gotten a bad reputation is because many people are selling in the name of networking, but those who are truly masterful at networking do so in a very quiet, yet powerful manner. These people know the power of grace and respect. They've developed their personal power and know how to connect with people to share their power.
You have that personal power within you, and your network is unlimited! The following 12 People Power principles show you how to be a source of power for yourself and others.
1- The Power of Giving
- In what ways could I be more giving and supportive?
- In which personal relationships could I be more giving?
- In which professional relationships could I be more giving?
- Who will I call and ask, "What do you need?" and "How can I help?"
The "boomerang effect" of giving is the guarantee of networking. A boomerang always comes back because that is the design of the instrument. In the same way, what you give always comes back in some form because that is the design of the law of giving.
However, the only way the boomerang can return is if someone first takes action and throws the boomerang. Giving is a powerful way to activate your network, because human nature inherently provides the desire to respond in kind.
Get your "giving power" into action. Pass along support and information to others. Then all you have to do is watch for that boomerang and catch it on its return.
2- The Power of Interdependence
Make a powerful and mature shift from the mental state of "I can do this on my own" to "I honor the power and results that are accomplished from working effectively with others."
Expand your thinking beyond yourself-- the "I can do it on my own" mentality limits your outreach and effectiveness as a networker. Many of us need to retrain ourselves to think positively about interdependence. Think of yourself as a multi-dimensional entity of resources and contacts.
Who you are consists of all of your life experiences and the people who influence who you are as a person. You are larger than what you see in your mirror. You are a culmination of connections that provide an unlimited source of knowledge and opportunities.
| Make the Shift from...
|"They probably don't have time. . . ."
||"I call on people in a way that respects their time."
|"I can do this myself. . . ."
||"I work efficiently and effectively with others."
|"I know what needs to be done here. . . ."
"I run my ideas by others to check my thinking."
|"I don't want to bother people. . . ."
||"I acknowledge others by asking and including them."
|"I don't know them well enough to call. . . ."
||"I will expand my network by calling on people."
|"They probably don't know anyone. . . ."
||"I'll never know if I don't ask!"
3- The Power of Praise
|Send Notes Frequently That Say...
- Thanks for your support.
- Thanks for your friendship.
- Thanks for the referral.
- Thanks for the ideas you shared with me.
- Thanks for the words of encouragement.
- Thanks for the opportunity to learn more about your business.
- Thanks for the opportunity to do business with you.
- Thanks for taking the time to. . . .
Praise calls attention to the good, the helpful, and the positive. By praising yourself and others you bring people to a higher level of energy and awareness. Humans thrive on positive reinforcement.
There are two ways to regularly acknowledge people in your network: speaking in person or over the phone, and sending notes. Make sure you are giving and receiving positive feedback in your life on a daily basis.
Sprinkle the word "thanks" throughout your day. Tell people specifically how they influence your life in a positive way. Handwritten notes convey the personal touch we often yearn for in our society-- you'll brighten someone's day and maintain your own attitude of gratitude.
My favorite story about sending notes is from someone who attended a musical performance and sent the performer a one-word note: "Stunning!" That person's experience and appreciation was so eloquently and beautifully conveyed with that one word!
| Who Are the Five Most Well-Connected People You Know?
By consciously building relationships with people who know people, you are multiplying your reach. List five people you know who are well connected and identify what you will do to strengthen your relationship with each of them. Ask...
- How can I be a valuable resource for this person?
- How can this person be a valuable resource for me?
- What will I do to strengthen this relationship?
4- The Power of Quality Connections
Everyone has a vast and powerful network. However, for some people the connections have become weak and rusty from neglect. Clean up those communication connections so that you can network with all the people in your life in an easy, natural and consistent manner.
Networking is as simple as friendship and as complex as match making. It is about people being there for one another. People are much more likely to be "people loyal" than they are to be brand loyal, and your network will naturally grow and blossom as you strengthen and nurture your relationships. Never underestimate the power of your contacts!
5- The Power of Staying in Touch
Staying in touch with people what keeps your relationships close and connected. All of us at times get busy and even though we think of giving someone a call, oftentimes we don't follow through on the thought. Make a point to call people to stay in touch and reconnect.
Focus on calling at least one person a week to wish them well or see how they're doing. Call someone you have not talked with in a long time and let them know you are thinking of them. Networking simply happens through conversation, yet someone has to be willing to reach out and initiate the conversation.
Seven Types of Calls to Cultivate Your Network
The "Reconnection" Call: A call to someone you haven't talked to in a while for the purpose of reestablishing the relationship and getting an update on what the person is doing. You can acknowledge that it's been a long time, express your interest in catching up, and even if it feels awkward at first, most relationships can pick up again fairly quickly.
The "Follow-Through" Call: A call to follow up on a project or idea; might involve giving or asking for information, scheduling an appointment or staying in touch about an opportunity.
The "New Contact or Referral" Call: A call to someone you've just met or been referred to by someone you know, for the purpose of getting to know each other and seeing if and how you can provide mutual support. Remind people how you met, or tell them who referred you.
The "Thinking of You" Call: A call that has no particular agenda other than saying hello and keeping communication lines open. Does not involve a sales pitch.
The "Asking for Support" Call: A call made to request information, ideas, contacts or support of some kind. Be clear about what you want and how you think this person can be of help.
The "How Can I Help?" Call: A call to offer support or make yourself available as a resource. When you hear about a project or challenge that someone is facing, call.
The "Developing Friendship" Call: Sometimes you meet someone and recognize an easy, natural rapport that leaves you wanting to get together again. This call is focused on creating an opportunity for a personal or professional friendship to develop.
6- The Power of Knowing You
Ways I Can Be of Value to Others
- Introduce people to other people I know
- Recommend products and services that have benefited me
- Share information that I have learned through my success and failures
- Provide feedback regarding ideas
- Provide encouragement
- Share my expertise
- Brainstorm and contribute ideas
- Learn about other people's businesses so that I can promote and refer business to them
- Provide a new insight or idea
- Send other information I come across that could be of interest or value to them
You are a wealth of information, ideas, and contacts. You must believe that this is true and train yourself to think and respond as someone who has value to offer.
A positive sense of self, an awareness of the value you can be to others, and a positive attitude, all contribute to your success in networking. Identify your goals in all areas of your life and utilize your resources to assist you in accomplishing those goals with more ease, fun, and efficiency.
NEXT: Part Two