Networking has been proven to be the most effective way to land a job, grow a business and to advance one’s career. At its core, it’s about relationship building.
It is amazing that so many people dread networking at events. Some find it to be as painful as a visit to the dentist when you haven’t been flossing consistently. Others describe it as a complete waste of time and at best, awkward. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who embrace the concept and actively manage their personal brands in order to enhance their networking effectiveness.
Regardless of where you are on the journey, you should ask yourself the question, “How is this working for me?” Here are two things you can do to be more comfortable networking and yield better results professionally in the process:
Dream What’s Possible
Have a vision. This is a simplified way of saying, “know where you want to go.” Yes, there are those who may have stumbled through life and have achieved a measure of success. You can’t assume that you will be “the lucky one.” Your vision can be related to your overall life plan, your career, your business or all the above. Don’t hold back. Make it a bold one!
In order to have a breakthrough experience, it is important to unleash the mental process that allows us to think big. Craft a new vision for yourself and write it down!
Create A Networking Action Plan
Once you have your vision, next you need to identify goals that are directly aligned to helping you achieve your vision. When you create your goals think about all dimensions of your life, as they are interconnected. Share your plan with your inner circle – those people you trust who are your biggest advocates. Through your volunteer activities, your professional circles, religious services and your social activities, you should apply your new focus. Look for win-win opportunities, people whose objectives are in alignment with your goals and seek opportunities for mutually beneficial relationships. When the time is right, don’t be afraid to make the ASK!
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Juliette C. Mayers is the author of A Black Woman’s Guide to Networking, available at www.juliettemayers.com/books. Follow Juliette C. Mayers: @jcmayers