There are hidden opportunities waiting to be accessed in everyone if you just tell them where you’re headed and what you want to achieve. In that vein, today I’d like to share ten networking tips from my personal business hero, Keith Ferrazzi, to help you achieve your goals.
If you aren’t clear about your own goals yet, a great place to start is Meg Guiseppi’s Personal Branding Worksheet.
1. Be concrete. The more specific you are about what you want to do, the easier it becomes to develop a strategy to accomplish it. And the easier it becomes for others in your universe to help you get where you’re going. Nail down where you want to go in life so you can develop a networking strategy to get there.
2. Know how to talk about yourself. The way you talk about yourself and your goals should inspire others to help you get there. If you need help articulating what you’re all about, see my post How to Talk About What You Do.
3. Become viral from word-of-mouth. Do such a great job that people will brag about you to their friends. If you need some inspiration, see my post 8 Tips to Turn Mundane Projects into WOW Projects. Energize your colleagues and soon, buzz will spread.
4. Introduce others to those that can help them. Be a connector. You will become known as the person everybody needs to know because you facilitate relevant relationships. It’s fun and rapidly grows your circle of colleagues.
5. Redefine “networking.“ You are not “networking.” You are connecting – sharing your knowledge, resources, time, energy, friends, associates, empathy and compassion in a continual effort to provide value to others. Real networking is about finding ways to make other people more successful.
“The idea isn’t to find yourself another environment for tomorrow, but to be constantly creating the environment and community you want for yourself, no matter what may occur.” – Keith Ferrazzi
6. Figure out who could benefit from where you are right now. If you get hired for a new job, reach out to ex-classmates, professors, old bosses, and anyone who might stand to benefit from a relationship with your new company. You don’t have to wait for a networking event to start connecting people.
7. Have a personal board of directors. Keith points out that very successful people are not, as a group, especially talented, educated, or charming. But they all have a circle of trustworthy, talented, and inspirational people whom they can call upon. Who is on your personal board of directors? If you don’t have one, reach out to one person and start building it.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and an introduction. What’s the worst the could happen? Ask, “is there anyone you know who you think could lend some helpful advice?” Then ask, “is there any chance of arranging a quick introduction? Maybe you could pass on an email?” You never know until you try. You’d be surprised how well people respond when you put yourself in a vulnerable state and ask for help.
9. Ask others to help you improve. This can be tough on the ego, but it’s extremely valuable. Ask the people you know best what they think your greatest strengths and weaknesses are. Ask them what they admire about you and what areas you may need help in. Then do something about it and ask them again.
10. Decide how you’re going to fail. This is less about networking and more about your general outlook on life. Will you fail having tried every possible solution, or will you give up wondering whether you could have done better?
“The choice isn’t between success and failure; it’s between choosing risk and striving for greatness, or risking nothing and being certain of mediocrity.” – Keith Ferrazzi
Think big with your networking strategy. You’ve got goals – now it’s time to help others help you achieve them. What tips do you recommend for readers to achieve their goals through networking?
Pete Kistler is a leading Online Reputation Management expert for Generation Y, a top 5 finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter, a widely read career development blogger, and a Judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete manages strategic vision for Brand‐Yourself.com, the first online reputation management platform for job applicants, named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative College Startups in the U.S.