Is this you? I enjoy going to conferences and seminars, whether it is about my particular field or about leadership. I get to hear new ideas, initiatives and it helps me to think about how I can be a better leader or manager. Perhaps there is stuff I can take away with me and introduce into my organisation that could make a difference to the people I support. The bit I struggle with is when I turn up early and there is an expectation that you will network over coffee and biscuits, meeting people you have never met before.
And yet… Looking through my mailing list for my monthly leadership pack, I see an eclectic list of important people who I consider to be an integral part of my network, some of whom I have worked with in both my careers, and people I have known for many years. They include former colleagues I have worked with in social care and the military and also include Educationalists, Carers, Government ‘Civil Servants’, Social Care Professionals, Commercial Business people, and consultants
My life has been enriched by the people I know and I have come to the conclusion that the success I have achieved in both my careers has often been due to the people I know. I wanted to share with you my ideas and tips which will hopefully help you benefit from networking, especially if you struggle at conventions to network, and there are also other ways:
network: group of persons sharing an aim, interest etc. and frequently communicating with or helping each other
Done correctly, networking promotes your career; helps you learn from the people you network with; provides a sounding board for your ideas and, if you get stuck with a problem or situation, a good network will always know someone who can help you (and you will do the same for someone else in return).
My 5 Principles of Networking:
- Be committed to using your skills & expertise to help others.
- The more you can help your contacts , the more they will want to help you
- Don’t keep count of the things you have done for them – do things for people with no thought of gain or reward
- Never forget anyone who has ever helped you no matter how long ago – keep in touch
- Step outside your field of work to network (it will help you look at your world differently)
My 5 Benefits of Networking
- Karma – what you do for others is often returned
- A good network speeds up your learning
- It opens new opportunities and often takes you down a path you had not previously considered
- It benefits your organisation as a network shared is also expertise shared
- An opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life
My 5 Top Tips to grow your Network
1 Keep your network database up to date and analyse it
- Set goals for networking –e.g. Follow up and say hello to someone within your organisation – catch up with at least one person each week outside your organisation in your network
- Get out there – promote yourself and make contact. Raise your visibility. Attend meetings, serve on committees, write for journals, speak to gatherings, become a spokesperson. (make sure you have plenty of business cards in your pocket).
- Meet as many people as you can. If you meet a potential network contact, widen the conversation and find out all you can about that person. Remember it is about them not about you. (70% finding about them – 30 % share about you)
- Use social media. I use Twitter and LinkedIn mainly for networking. Twitter for me is not a marketing tool, but it is a good networking tool as is LinkedIn used the right way. (look out on my blog next week for my 20 Top Tips when using Twitter).
Network with happy people: People with happy friends are 15% more likely to be happy themselves research from University of California
WHAT SHOULD BE OUT AND WHAT IS IN:
What’s in it for me? How can I help, support or encourage you?
Who can you refer me to? Who do I know that can I connect you with?
How can I convince you? What can I learn from you?
If I give, I had better receive I will give without expectation
What goes around comes around What I send out into the world will come back to me tenfold – when I least expect it.