Sharpening Those Networking Skills
By Johanna Schlegel
With so many people between jobs these days, it's no surprise
that everyone seems to be brushing up on their networking
Here's a list of do's and don'ts to help you maneuver the art
and science of professional networking.
The economy may not be booming, but the network certainly is.
Friends who didn't return telephone calls a year ago are
suddenly easier to get ahold of. After having been started-up
then shut down, dot-commed (or dot-conned), un-vested,
repositioned, downsized, made redundant, or laid flat by
layoffs, it's no wonder people are "doing lunch" again. Even
if you still love your old job, you're probably a little more
visible these days. Here's a list of do's and don'ts to help
you maneuver the art and science of professional networking.
Network everywhere - trade associations, church, family,
Remember people and help them feel great about themselves -
treat everyone with respect.
Keep your networking account in the black - put in more
than you take out.
Be one of the people others are glad to see or hear from.
Figure out what you can do for people, and do it.
Approach networking as an opportunity to build "the brand
of you," which is often an extension of your company's
Work events in pairs so you can hand people off - or come
back to home base to compare notes and renew your energy.
Refer people whenever you think there's a potential match -
but use glowing reviews sparingly, so they'll have more
Pay genuine compliments, and accept compliments graciously.
Proactively diversify your network by introducing yourself
to people who look or seem different from you - everyone
Don't fake an interest in golf or sailing - every hobby has
its network, so find one that makes you genuinely happy.
Musicians, for example, are great networkers.
Don't be too visible, or you'll flood the market with
too much you.
Don't monopolize people's time - learn the cues about when
a conversation is over, and move on graciously to another
Don't block people's access to food or drink.
Don't be afraid of rich or famous people - just use your
access to them wisely.
Don't overnetwork or undernurture - your friends will
complain that they only hear from you when you want
something from them.
Don't hold your drink in your right hand, or your handshake
will be cold and damp; similarly, don't try to carry both a
plate and a glass.
Don't take your host for granted - and don't forget to be
the host once in a while.
Don't just collect contacts - you've got to put them in
Don't focus all your energy on the tall, loud, good-looking
extroverts in a room - you'll miss a lot of great contacts
while competing for their attention.
Copyright 2000-2004 © Salary.com, Inc.
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