Networking is essential for business growth and personal success. Yet the adage “it’s not what you know its who you know” seems to have significantly more weight in this 21st century world of busyness, where jobs are filled before they are advertised and previously unthought-of collaborations appear out of nowhere to create new and competitive markets and steal market share.
Individual talent, previous performance successes, educational achievement or even good old self reliance is no longer enough to survive in the fast-moving business landscape in which continued relevance, agility and innovative thinking are key.
Sure, networking still matters – but it’s the NETWORK leaders build around themselves that matters more.
The Harvard Business Review article “Managing Yourself, A Smarter Way To Network” found that, “The executives who consistently rank in the top 20% of their companies in both performance and well-being have diverse but select networks …made up of high-quality relationships with people who come from several different spheres and from up and down the corporate hierarchy.
Here are five key ways to master the art of building a network that works.
- Get Clear On YOU
- understanding your values so you can consistently walk your talk,
- identifying your strengths so you can share them
- owning your weaknesses so you can seek help on them and
- being yourself so you can be authentic and true.
When you get clear on ‘You’ and network with conviction, opportunities are created, value is exchanged, influence is increased and connections become transformational.
- Identify The Critical Few
Momentum, however, starts with a significantly smaller circle of influence. It’s about engaging your personal network on a deeper level putting you right in the middle of a network that connects you to people and information that matters for your growth and personal success. It’s about being small, strategic and smart and ensuring you have these key people to support you:
- Promoter – your personal champion and inspiration
- Pit Crew – who keep you on track and nurture you
- Teacher – who expand your knowledge and wisdom and push you to know more every day
- Butt-kicker – who hold you accountable for your actions and decisions.
- First Impressions Do Count
The importance of making a first impression cannot be overestimated, because first impressions influence later impressions. James Uleman, a professor of psychology at New York University explains, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. In spite of the congeniality of many professional gatherings, judgements are being made and impressions are being formed all the time”. Whether we like it or not, appearance is our first filter – whether in person or on-line. Everything on the outside contributes to others’ impression of you. So make it a good one and take control.
- Become An Action Taker
- Exchange Value
It was Richard Branson that said, ‘Nobody can be successful alone’ and in our fast-moving business world a network that works is critical to fast-track personal and business success.
Choose to network wisely, building a circle of influence that allows transformational connections to be nurtured and business growth opportunities to be fostered.
Written by: Janine Garner, a Fortune 500 mentor, keynote speaker and author. Janine is a partner at Thought Leaders Global, which helps clever people to become commercially smart, and the founder and CEO of the LBDGroup, a networking community that connects like-minded women together to help them achieve extraordinary growth.
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Janine is the author of two books – It’s Who You Know: How a network of 12 key people can fast-track your success (Wiley) and From Me To We: Why Commercial Collaboration Will Future Proof Business, Leaders and Personal Success (Wiley). Books by Janine Garner.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the CEOWORLD magazine.
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