Friday, December 28, 2007

Networking Ain't Just for Business Events

Too many people take a party approach to networking! They think they need to go to the local Chamber of Commerce event or join the Rotary Club (not that these are bad things to do), it's just that there are all kinds of opportunities to network if you're always looking.

For instance, last week I went to a friends house for a small Christmas Party. While there, I found out one of my newer friends was looking for a chess clock for his grandson. He wanted to buy him one for Christmas, but he could find a local store that carried them. I had no idea where to get one, but I told him I'd do a search online. I took his business card and enjoyed the rest of the party.

The next day, I carved a few minutes out of my day to slap some words into Google. I found lots of places for him to buy one online, but none locally. But what I did find out was that the President of the US Chess Federation lived about an hour away from me. I figured that if anyone would know where to get a chess clock in the area it would be him, so I gave him a call! He didn't know, but we still had a nice conversation and we parted ways wishing each other a happy holiday season.

I don't give up easy, so I took one more shot at it and tried a search for retail board game shops. I didn't find anything in the area, but I did find a link to a store called Game Daze in Arizona, so again I called. I asked if there were any Game Daze stores in South Carolina and he said no, but there was a store called Boardwalk and Park Place over here on the east coast! I thanked him and jumped back on Google. Sure enough, there was a Boardwalk and Park Place in the next town down from ours! I called my friend and he was ecstatic!!!

Now this sure is a long post, but let's look at what happened! First, my friend owns a large restoration and cleaning business that has clients all over the county. He's becoming a great friend and a good contact! He now knows I follow through when I say I'll do something! The President of the US Chess Federation is now a new contact. The time wasn't right to ask him what he did for a living, but I sent him a nice note thanking him for his help and kindness and a sample of one of my products my company sells. My other contact was the Game Daze store manager. He's on the other side of the country, but he got a thank you note too. You never know who will turn out to be a great contact!

What I want you to realize is networking is a lifestyle! Over time, I hope Learning 2 Network will help convince you of that!!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Two Things That Make a Good Networker!

The first thing is trust!! Trust is a fragile thing, and once it's lost it's hard (if not impossible) to get back! So how do you create this trust? You have to be sincere and reliable!! When you're talking to someone, LOOK AT THEM! If you say you will do something, DO IT! What did your mom tell you when you were growing up? "You only have one chance to make a good first impression!" Mom was right!!

The second thing is commitment!! Building a strong network of really great contacts is hard work! It takes time! It takes LOTS of time! But if you stick to it and you don't quit, over time you'll meet and get to know hundreds of people that can and will help you in your career! You should look at networking like maintaining your health; like we do either perfectly! Networking works best if you do a little bit each day!