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The do’s and don’ts of networking

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By Milton Kiang, professional resume writer at resumeprofessional.net | July 9, 2014     http://www.careerbuilder.com/advice/the-dos-and-donts-of-networking

BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS NEED A BETTER UNDERSTANDING ABOUT WHAT NETWORKING IS AND ISN’T.

We network because we don’t work and live in a silo. Due to human nature, we tend to trust doing business with people we know or who are referred to us. People often think of the need to network whenever their jobs are in jeopardy, or whenever they’re in search of new business. You hear them say, “I need to go out and start networking!”

But building up a good network doesn’t happen overnight. Business professionals need a better understanding about what networking is and isn’t. Here are 10 do’s and don’ts of networking:

Networking is:
1. About taking a keen interest in people and what they do. Try to make connections on a personal and professional level.

2. About carrying business cards everywhere you go.

3. About joining an organization, association or committee outside of work, where the mandate, activity and people interest you. Y

4. About attending a business reception or cocktail event at least once a month. If you make it an objective to meet at least one or two interesting people, and limit yourself to staying an hour, then you might find yourself enjoying these events.

5. About staying in touch. If someone has made an impression on you, drop her an email to say “Hello.” Every so often, reach out to acquaintances who normally aren’t part of your “inner circle,” and go out for lunch or coffee. Maintain your presence out there, no matter how busy you might be.

Networking isn’t:
6. A “one-off” activity, or something that you can “switch on” whenever you need new customers or job contacts. It’s something that you do on a continuous basis. It’s a mindset, a holistic way of thinking about people and relationships.

7. About creating a huge number contacts over a short time period. It’s about developing quality relationships over the span of your career. Take the time to find out more about the people in your business or social circle. If you think that two people in your circle might benefit from knowing one another, don’t hesitate to make introductions. That’s what a “good networker” does, and people will remember you for it.

8. About attending business functions simply to find new customers or pitch for new business. This is the wrong approach. People don’t like being “sold to” at cocktail receptions, even if those events are industry-related.

9. A one-way street, where the sole purpose is for you to capitalize on your contacts. You might hear a person telling a networking success story about how he got his new job through a contact he knew. What you don’t hear is that this person was either incredibly lucky or relied on a contact whose relationship took years to cultivate. For networking to work, you must give, which means giving referrals, making introductions, and supplying helpful contacts to acquaintances.

10. About relying solely on social media. Facebook and LinkedIn make it easy to build up contacts, but this isn’t the same as meeting someone in person. You need to be seen and heard, and you need to create an impression.

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