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Too Busy Not To Network
By Robyn Henderson
How do we fit networking into our busy schedules?
One of the best ways to do this is by integrating networking into our lives. Some of the best networking opportunities take place in less formal situations—be it a baseball or basketball game or neighborhood or school get-togethers. When we combine networking with our social events, we will certainly be saving time.
In the networking ladder of loyalty, we can walk into a room full of strangers at any kind of event, not knowing anyone. Through communication—basically a combination of speaking and listening—we build trust. The more we communicate, the more trust we build and the faster we move our relationship up the networking ladder of loyalty from stranger to acquaintance to friend.
Some people shy away from the use of the word "friend," concerned that they either have enough friends already, or more "friends" mean more commitments. On the contrary! When you build up a network of friends you create communities full of open doors. Open doors where we can pick up the phone, send an email, offer information, ask for help, knowing always that the help is reciprocal.
By knowing who to call can save you time, money and effort. Networking is basically connecting like-minded people, communicating with friends and acquaintances and cementing our blocks of trust. In doing so, we form solid foundations of networks and contacts and often become known as a sphere of influence—someone who knows a little bit about a lot of things and a lot about one or two areas of our expertise. We are reliable, professional and great at accessing vital information.
You can develop a network of friends by doing the following three things:
Give without expectations. Do something for someone without the intention of getting something back. Basically as our BNI founder Ivan Misner has told us many times, "Give without remembering and receive without forgetting."
Have an "abundance" mentality. This is the belief system that regardless of profession or location, opportunities abound for everyone. Be generous with sharing information and connections, without fearing scarcity or lack.
Understand the universal law of reciprocity. This states that what you give out comes back tenfold. If you want referrals, start giving them to others.
Based on the above definition and examples we can see that networking actually goes way beyond attending networking functions. This in itself is a great time management bonus. Fifteen minutes per day keeping in touch, following up and being remembered positively will add to our networking profile.
Global Networking Specialist Robyn Henderson has authored seven books, including four on networking and business building. To receive a complimentary networking ebook, email her at email@example.com or visit her website www.networkingtowin.com.au.