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14 Tips on How to Become A Networking Master

14 Tips on How to Become A Networking Master

According to Dr. Brian G. Gilmartin author of “Love and Shyness: Causes, consequences and treatment”, about 70 percent of the best job and career opportunities are obtained under the table through informal social networks.

Moreover,  recent studies have shown that compared to jobs obtained the regular ways, jobs obtained through informal social networks pay significantly better, provide far better growth opportunities, are about three times more likely to provide high levels of career satisfaction, and aree about five times more likely to be retained by the incumbent for ten or more years.

To sum it up: It`s not what you know, it`s who you know.

Yes networking can be a difficult and very awkward process but if left undone you will be risking to lose 70 percent of your growth opportunities for those who may not be as good as you but they know how to reach out and ask for a ”Push”.

In this article, I will show you 14 rules, if followed you will be able to master the art of networking.

1. Stop focusing on what you want

Smart networking is mostly based on mutual benefits. I help and you help me back, and since you`re the one who wants to connect then you’re the one who must start this win-win relationship by adding value to the other person`s life.

In her book “The Connectors: How the world`s most successful business people build relationships and win clients for life” famous marketing consultant Maribeth Kuzmesky says:

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“Concentrating on others’ needs can be extremely beneficial; you can assume that almost everyone else’s focus is ‘‘What’s in it for me’’ and not vice-versa. Therefore, adopting a ”What’s in it for them’’ mentality will actually allow you to stand out in a crowd.”

In other words; focusing on others will always bring you more which can take us to the second rule of smart networking.

2. Listen Curiously

Maribeth Kuzmesky continues:

“Connecting is not about being a great talker, in order to connect effectively you must be an active listener which is very different from hearing.”

This is difficult because very often the listener is so busy thinking about responding to what the speaker is saying that he misses much of what the speaker is trying to convey.

3. Know what to do if they don`t talk much

It’s hard to listen if the other member of your exchange isn’t doing much talking. To really connect with someone, you need to ask good questions that show you are interested, help you learn, and will allow you to use your listening skills.

4. Know how to network by email

If you network by email, all you need is to do your homework and research your target. The best way to do that is by reading what they post or say on social media or even taking a look at their blog posts. This will help you know what they love, what they need and what they complain about.

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What you have to do is to keep tracking them until you find what I call “an effective point of entry” that will let you grab that person’s attention or at least reduces the chances of them neglecting your email.

5. Stay short and quick

You have less than 10 seconds (or a single paragraph if you`re emailing) to grab someone’s attention. The best tool to overcome this is a short targeted pitch that tells people who you are, what you do and what you can offer.

Busy people don`t like wasting their time, make sure you get their attention before they feel their time getting wasted.

6. Network with everyone

You shouldn’t connect with people only inside your area of expertise. Grow your network and connect with people outside your industry. You don`t know what the future holds for you, you might need them someday.

7. Until you get under their radar, don`t ask for anything

Influencers and important people face lots of mediocre or pushy networking attempts every single day and they suspect new approaches and new emails almost all the time, and sometimes even after adding value to their lives you still won`t get a clear chance to ask them to repay your favor.

That`s why you must have enough patience to wait until it’s the right time to ask for what you want. And when will this “right time” come? I don`t know. You know them better than me.

8. Introduce people to each other

The best way to owe someone a favor is by simply introducing him or her to someone who can benefit them.

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Assuming that you know both persons well, a simple email asking both of them if they like to be introduced to each other (while stating what`s in it for them) will set you as a “know’em all” person and of course; both of them will pay you later if things work well.

9. All people are not the right people

Quality matters when networking with people. If you`re going to approach someone then make sure that you are approaching someone who can help (knowing that you will offer help first). Other than that, you are simply wasting your time.

10. If it`s your first time or if you`re afraid, then do it the clumsy way

Networking is simply reaching out to those you have no relationship with, which is scary for a lot of people.

If it frightens you, then doing it the clumsy way is better than not doing it at all (while working on upgrading your skills).

If you feel overwhelmed because you`re not that qualified or because your pitch is not extra professional then jump into the water right away and click send or push the call button. Just like what Michael Jordan has said:

“I can accept failure but I can`t accept not trying.”

11. Don`t be an Ass licker

Most people perceive too much complementing as fake or cheap especially when it comes from someone they barely know or not know at all.

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Even if you really admire that person, don’t over show it and make sure that they respect you as much as you want them to like you. An easy catch is always boring, avoid being in such position.

12. Accept that you will get rejected, many times.

Don`t take it personal, sometimes people are busy or they just don`t like you (you too get busy or don`t like someone for no reason). Accept that and get over it quickly. It’s a part of the game.

13. Find a mentor

“You need mentors in your life to take you to the places you want to go!!! Why do you need mentors? Well, it’s simple. Mentors cause you to change, or stretch yourself to new limits not known before. They also give you a larger vision for your life than you can see for yourself.” – Tom Pace

Build a list of 3-7 people whom you’d like to be your mentor and reach out to them. Follow them, learn from them and even work for them for free.

A mentor can teach you what books can’t plus once a mentor trusts you, his or her network becomes your network.

You offer them help plus prestige or ego satisfaction and they offer you experience and connections. That`s a strong relationship from which both of you can win.

14. Never be too busy for networking

Networking is business, and if done right it will save you time and make you money more than anything else on your busy schedule.

Leave some space on your schedule for networking. Something as simple as reaching out to one person a day can do miracles to your business. It doesn`t matter to start small, as long as you are consistent enough.

Featured photo credit: Justin Brown via flickr.com

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Published on October 8, 2019

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

1. Define What Success Is for You

There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

7. Pick Up Some New Skills

Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

9. Make Yourself Indispensable

Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

10. Get Off the Fence

People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

18. Join a Professional Organization

The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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