December 19, 2009

The Gift of Networking

It isn't just what you know, and it isn't just who you know. It's actually who you know, who knows you, and what you do for a living.
--- Bob Burg

No cost. No pollution. No limits. Networking makes a perfect gift. As with gardening, you harvest what you plant and nurture.

Are you committed?

Our son wanted a pet chinchilla when he was three. We got him a Tamagotchi (a digital dog on a keychain). Like a real animal, this pet required food, cleaning, rest and attention. Too much work for him. The digital dog soon died of neglect. Lesson learned. No pet.

It's easy to start networking online
  1. join: pick LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, your choice
  2. lurk: see what others do so you'll blend in
  3. participate: help your network now and into the future
The challenge is sticking with it.

Like an Elephant
Like an elephant, the Internet never forgets. Your online activity leaves a permanent trace. So you're wise to think of the implications of your messages
  • don't say something that would offend you, a family member, a potential client or a potential employer
  • don't send something unless you're in a proper frame of mind; it's too easy to misinterpret others and too easy to be misinterpreted
When You Mess up
Despite your best efforts, you'll make mistakes. Some people go out of their way to find ways to get offended. If you've established a history, you'll have credibility with the rest. They'll be more forgiving. Plus the volume of your activity will bury the inappropriate statements.

The Science of Giving
The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.
--- Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone
Give for the sake of giving. Give to make the world better. Your generosity will change you forever. If that's not reward enough, give because your network will reciprocate if you need help. Is that hard to believe?

Dr. Robert Cialdini explains why reciprocity works:
It becomes possible for one individual to give resources to another without giving them away. What you get instead is a credit. When you need something, you can call on other members of the group who you have helped in the past and they are very willing — in fact, they are waiting — to help because the saddle of obligation weighs heavy on us.
We want to repay our debts. We want to give back to others who have given to us.
--- Dr. Robert Cialdini
Caution: Build Then Invite
How would you feel if you visited a new store with empty shelves? Build your destination before opening the doors. On Twitter, this means having several tweets. On LinkedIn or Facebook, have a reasonably complete profile with your photo and the basics about you. Be sure to add the details later. You'll now make a stronger impression when it matters most: the first time.

Now find out who else you may know on the network. This is easy. Just upload your contacts and inform suitable ones. If they don't respond, be patient. You gain nothing by pestering them or feeling offended.

The best way to network is to start. Now. You don't need to wait for spring.

Final Post of 2009
The best to you and yours during the holidays.
May 2010 give you what you yen!

Podcast Episode 48 (4:46)

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