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10 Ways To Build Stronger Networks In Work And Life

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10 Ways To Build Stronger Networks In Work And Life

New business opportunities don’t just fall from thin air and happen with no effort involved. You can rely on luck and happenstance to bring you in new leads and open fresh business directions, but this probably isn’t the most reliable way to go. The same goes for life decisions and socialization, you can’t just wait for things to fall into your lap. A lot of people might argue that you can’t just come up to people and talk to them, since that can be considered rude and pushy. Well, nothing will happen if you don’t take a chance, right?

By nature, I’m not a very sociable person and I’m a bit, what do you call it, “socially awkward”, but I have learned through the years that you need to break your comfort zone once in a while, especially when you want something to change. Opportunities and progress lie outside your comfort zone and you should take this as a given.

1. Elevator small talk

Small talk in elevator

    Don’t let the name confuse you. This technique isn’t necessarily related to conversations taking place within an elevator. It is true that it got its name from situations in which you get new networking opportunities with people while riding in an elevator and you have only those two floors to present yourself and what you do to somebody and make a connection. This can be applied to networking opportunities in general. Remain confident, introduce yourself and your company, and reveal what geographical area you cover and what your specialty is. Don’t take too long, speak with confidence and give the other side a chance to talk. These are the basics but there’s a lot more to it.

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    2. Originality

    If you want to get business opportunities, you will need to offer something that nobody (or almost nobody) else in your niche offers. If you are just a part of the crowd, nobody will notice you and chances for networking will be scarcer.

    3. Don’t be a stranger

    Meeting in public

      Remember to follow up on referrals and check up on previous acquaintances and connections. Regular contact makes your connections stronger and it is a good idea to connect with people outside of the business context and develop a level of familiarity and intimacy with those around you. A good network is an active one.

      4. A mutual friend

      You can always find new connections through old ones. In all honesty, people are much more likely to trust somebody who they met through a previous acquaintance than a random stranger. If you lack this specific type of connection, ask people if they know somebody who can help you out. Chances are they do!

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      5. Targeting

      Dart hitting bulls eye

        Mutual benefit is always a good thing when it comes to bringing two sides together. Find people who fit your business or social profile, people with whom you can connect.Try to focus your networking efforts on the right people – use your people skills to get close and spark up a conversation, but don’t waste a lot of time on people you don’t really want be acquainted with.

        6. Concrete focus

        Don’t talk peoples’ ears off with irrelevant information. Try to find a common ground and keep your conversation partner engaged and interested. Talking for ages about long-term plans and ambitions holds no value for potential business partners… concrete suggestions do.

        7. Planning

        Connections are not Pokémon, you don’t need them all. Make a plan of connections you need and work towards achieving it. Don’t disregard those that don’t seem useful at the moment but focus on getting the ones that you need most.

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        8. Reliability

        Olympic torch

          Reputation is crucial when developing a steady network and you need to live up to your reputation always. People with shifty track records do not go far in developing new connections because everyone does a background check before engaging with new business partner.

          9. Diversity

          Don’t be too narrow when making connections. Some of them might not be useful at first glance but they might come in handy when some of your other connections need them. A good network is solidified when all members have benefits from being a part of it.

          10. Social networks

          Keep up with the times and use the Web to reach people of interest. There are more than a few social networks intended for business, the best choices for professionals being LinkedIn and Google+. Don’t just post on Facebook and leave a few comments – try to connect with those influential in your industry and improve your knowledge at the same time. It’s important to note that a increasing your online presence will increase potential safety risks, so it would be a good idea to protect your information by using a VPN or Virtual Private Server, which helps encrypt your online activity. Keep in mind that information leaks are a big stain on anyone’s business career.

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          I hope this can help you develop a steady and useful network which will benefit everyone involved. Networking might take time and effort but, in the long run, it pays off and can resolve potentially difficult situations.

          Featured photo credit: Sony Pictures via sonypictures.com

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          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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          Last Updated on November 15, 2021

          20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

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          20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

          “Please describe yourself in a few words”.

          It’s the job interview of your life and you need to come up with something fast. Mental pictures of words are mixing in your head and your tongue tastes like alphabet soup. You mutter words like “deterministic” or “innovativity” and you realize you’re drenched in sweat. You wish you had thought about this. You wish you had read this post before.

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            Image Credit: Career Employer

            Here are 20 sentences that you could use when you are asked to describe yourself. Choose the ones that describe you the best.

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            “I am someone who…”:

            1. “can adapt to any situation. I thrive in a fluctuating environment and I transform unexpected obstacles into stepping stones for achievements.”
            2. “consistently innovates to create value. I find opportunities where other people see none: I turn ideas into projects, and projects into serial success.”
            3. “has a very creative mind. I always have a unique perspective when approaching an issue due to my broad range of interests and hobbies. Creativity is the source of differentiation and therefore, at the root of competitive advantage.”
            4. “always has an eye on my target. I endeavour to deliver high-quality work on time, every time. Hiring me is the only real guarantee for results.”
            5. “knows this job inside and out. With many years of relevant experience, there is no question whether I will be efficient on the job. I can bring the best practices to the company.”
            6. “has a high level of motivation to work here. I have studied the entire company history and observed its business strategies. Since I am also a long-time customer, I took the opportunity to write this report with some suggestions for how to improve your services.”
            7. “has a pragmatic approach to things. I don’t waste time talking about theory or the latest buzz words of the bullshit bingo. Only one question matters to me: ‘Does it work or not?'”
            8. “takes work ethics very seriously. I do what I am paid for, and I do it well.”
            9. “can make decisions rapidly if needed. Everybody can make good decisions with sufficient time and information. The reality of our domain is different. Even with time pressure and high stakes, we need to move forward by taking charge and being decisive. I can do that.”
            10. “is considered to be ‘fun.’ I believe that we are way more productive when we are working with people with which we enjoy spending time. When the situation gets tough with a customer, a touch of humour can save the day.”
            11. “works as a real team-player. I bring the best out of the people I work with and I always do what I think is best for the company.”
            12. “is completely autonomous. I won’t need to be micromanaged. I won’t need to be trained. I understand high-level targets and I know how to achieve them.”
            13. “leads people. I can unite people around a vision and motivate a team to excellence. I expect no more from the others than what I expect from myself.”
            14. “understands the complexity of advanced project management. It’s not just pushing triangles on a GANTT chart; it’s about getting everyone to sit down together and to agree on the way forward. And that’s a lot more complicated than it sounds.”
            15. “is the absolute expert in the field. Ask anybody in the industry. My name is on their lips because I wrote THE book on the subject.”
            16. “communicates extensively. Good, bad or ugly, I believe that open communication is the most important factor to reach an efficient organization.”
            17. “works enthusiastically. I have enough motivation for myself and my department. I love what I do, and it’s contagious.”
            18. “has an eye for details because details matter the most. How many companies have failed because of just one tiny detail? Hire me and you’ll be sure I’ll find that detail.”
            19. “can see the big picture. Beginners waste time solving minor issues. I understand the purpose of our company, tackle the real subjects and the top management will eventually notice it.”
            20. “is not like anyone you know. I am the candidate you would not expect. You can hire a corporate clone, or you can hire someone who will bring something different to the company. That’s me. “

            Featured photo credit: Tim Gouw via unsplash.com

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