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Building better bridges: networking for personal productivity

October 16, 2012

Building better bridges: networking for personal productivity

Networking is sometimes viewed or approached as selling (sometimes aggressively!), simply passing out business cards, or used solely for personal gain. However, the true spirit of networking involves getting to know people and developing relationships, giving without obligation, and exchanging business cards when there is a reason to stay in touch, such as a mutual interest or information or resources to be shared.

Stephen Covey’s description is probably the best from Wikipedia  –

“Covey coined the idea of abundance mentality or abundance mindset, a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and success to share with others. He contrasts it with the scarcity mindset (i.e., destructive and unnecessary competition), which is founded on the idea that, if someone else wins or is successful in a situation, that means you lose; not considering the possibility of all parties winning (in some way or another) in a given situation. Individuals with an abundance mentality are able to celebrate the success of others rather than feel threatened by it.[7]  Since this book’s publishing, a number of books appearing in the business press have discussed the idea.[8] Covey contends that the abundance mentality arises from having a high self-worth and security (see Habits 1, 2, and 3), and leads to the sharing of profits, recognition and responsibility.[9] Organizations may also apply an abundance mentality when doing business”

 

A little known fact is that U.S. President Bill Clinton read the book – Seven Habits of highly Effective People –  and invited Covey to Camp David to counsel him on how to integrate the book into his presidency

Back to networking….

Why the emphasis on networking? In case you are not already convinced through your own experiences or that of other people you know, the following statistics underscore the importance of effective networking:

  • A referral generates 80 percent more results than a cold call
  • Approximately 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking
  • Most people you meet have at least 250 contacts

And while these facts are reason enough to focus on improving ones networking skills, there are other benefits of networking too.

Among them, networking can enrich your life, providing new experiences and knowledge.

A great way to get started is to consider what you have to offer to the people in your network, such as special skills, information, experience, or knowledge, followed by asking yourself what you might need help with.

Networking begins with listening and sharing – people helping each other to achieve their respective goals. Little things as simple as clipping an interesting article, sharing a useful website link  or answering a question in your area of expertise are all ways to add value to the people in your network. These things show people you care, help build relationships, and establish rapport and trust so that when you need help it will be there for you.

Remember, networking can be very rewarding, not only in terms of business outcomes, saved time, and valuable information, but also in personal satisfaction because it involves helping others reach their goals.  To return to Stephen Covey and his 7 habits…

  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

  • Habit 6: Synergize

Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.

 

Wishing you a multifaceted and successful networking future!

 

Business Network SW events

More networking tips

 

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