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How Do You Network?

There is an abundance of literature on the market from some very sharp folks that discusses how to network. Books, audio CD’s, YouTube videos, tips and blogs all spelling out the X’s & O’s. I have read, listened to and watched a number of them and there is definitely some commonality as well as some differences.

In his book Endless Referrals, Bob Burg suggests “providing value” as a way to get people to know, like and trust you. Bob subscribes to a fairly systematic and structured approach to networking. Conversely, in her Rainmaking Made Easy audio CD, Suzi Pomerantz recommends turning networking into a game and letting everyone in just to explore the possibilities. Her approach is much less structured and loose. While these highly successful folks take different approaches, I wouldn’t say either is right or wrong. Each is successful with “their” method. The roots for many of these philosophies can be found in the classics How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnagie and Life is Tremendous, by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones.

Take some time to explore these and other resources, they are well worth the time. Networking is a vitally important skill, so expansion of your baseline knowledge is never a bad thing. You’re sure to learn some new concepts along the way.

Once you have a solid foundation, I am of the opinion that you have to put your own “spin” on it. Like a management style, you can get the basics from the management 101 class, but over time you must develop your own style that aligns with your personality and comfort zone. Trying to mimic a Bob Burg, Suzi Pomerantz or anyone else for that matter will come off as fake or insincere.

We all realize that networking is a valuable skill to have in the arsenal. Building a deep and vibrant personal network can help separate you from the pack. So go ahead and develop your own networking style. So long as you execute the basics, there is really no right or wrong way to go about it as long as it’s “you”.

What style, concepts or tips have you found to be successful?

Categories: Networking
  1. July 12, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    You are so right that networking is a valuable skill for anyone. Think of it as Relationship Asset Management. Managing your relationship assets is a critical to your business (if not more so) than managing your financial assets. The reason I advocate for making networking a game is that many people find it painful. I often hear from executives who are introverts that they don’t particularly enjoy the “shmoozing” that is required of their position. Networking, at it’s most basic definition, is not about shmoozing, but about creating a genuine human connection. We do that anyway in life, so why think of networking as something separate requiring a suit, a pocket full of business cards, and a breakfast meeting filled with salespeople? Networking, if we take the work out of it, would be net-ing. Think of your net worth. If you can have fun with creating genuine human connections (i.e., the game of networking), you can vastly increase your net worth.

    • July 12, 2010 at 7:54 pm

      Excellent Points Suzi. I love your Net – ing analogy!!

      If you Keep it “Fun”, you will stay in the game and after all, that’s what it’s all about.

  2. July 12, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Nicely done Dennis! I love the fact that you assisted in directing folks towards books they could read and that you also recommended they personalize it and make it their own. That makes it “real” and as you know, that’s what folks respond to and are loyal to. Thanks for the plug for Life Is Tremendous too!!

    • July 12, 2010 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks Tracey.

      Life is Tremendous is still one of the best books I have read, bar none. It’s easy to recommend.

  3. July 12, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Great article, Dennis. And, thank you for including me among some of my friends, heroes and mentors, both from present day and earlier times.

    • July 12, 2010 at 8:15 pm

      Thanks Bob – I truly enjoyed both Endless referrals and The go-Giver. Both Excellent reads.

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