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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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Last Updated on October 18, 2018

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

Things go wrong when you run your own business.

Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

  • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
  • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
  • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

The Bottom Line

Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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