There's no question that networking is one of the the most effective ways to find a new job. But networking is so much more than that. Your network is the single greatest business and professional development asset you "own". Properly nourished, your network is an excellent source of new business, ideas, advice, fellowship, learning opportunities, and yes....job leads should you need them now or in the future (whether solicited or unsolicited). Yet, most people fail to develop, grow and maintain their network effectively.
Your network is the single greatest business
and professional development asset you "own".
Want to know the real secret to growing your network? Make a habit of HELPING OTHER PEOPLE. Make it your goal to help people you meet, speak with or otherwise communicate with on a day-to-day basis. Be intentional. Look for ways to help work colleagues, neighbors, business contacts, people in your professional organizations, people at conferences, people in clubs in which you're a member and every new person you meet.
You've got to GIVE FIRST. Giving first launches the rule of reciprocity, which says that if you help people, they will be favorably inclined to return the favor in the future. By helping others you are making deposits in accounts that you can withdraw later.
through the process of reciprocal giving (and receiving).
So what is it that you can give? What exactly do you have to offer others? Simple .... Whatever might be helpful to them, AND .... it doesn’t have to be a big deal. The important thing is to cultivate a habit of being interested in the needs of others. Once you discover their needs, you are well on the way to finding a simple way that you can help them.
Ideas for Ways to Give to Your Network:
- Share relevant and useful information -- Send newspaper and trade journal articles, blog articles and announcements. Social media applications such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter make it VERY easy and effective to share useful information with your network.
- Recommend others or offer testimonials to others (solicited or, better yet, unsolicited testimonials). "Public" recommendation or testimonials through services such as LinkedIn offer a powerful way to offer testimonials to your business and professional contacts.
- Make yourself available to others - Listen!-- "Be there" for support, advice and counsel. Let others know you care. Give advice, when asked. Many times, it's simply being there to listen .... without judgment.
- Send congratulations for key business and personal accomplishments. Send a card, a handwritten note, or letter congratulating your friends, contacts and business associates when you hear about some achievement they are very likely proud of.
- Send birthday cards and holiday cards to let others know you are thinking about them.
- Send "thank you" notes when someone helps you in some way. A brief, handwritten thank you note is a wonderful "gift" to another person.
- Distribute a newsletter to your contacts offering useful information. A weekly, monthly or quarterly newsletter is an excellent tool for giving the gift of information to others.
- Be a positive influence. Smile, be friendly, offer an optimistic viewpoint, and encourage others in a positive way.
develop a powerful and meaningful network .... guaranteed.