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Networking 101 – Building Your Brand

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So now you have found your passion and you are rushing around madly trying to find work, build relationships and then do the work.  What’s next?

Since I have discovered that the majority of people are not natural networker’s, I turned to Helen Nicolson’s book “Networking: The Unwritten Rule of Business you need to know” for inspiration, and discovered that it would probably be a great idea to zone into and then emulate what Great Networker’s do.  Helen writes:
“Great Networker’s:
•    Identify and zone in on their strengths,
•    Build their brand around their top 10% strength base.”

So what does this mean to me, as a natural networker.  Giving this some thought – remember I like to simplify things and  I am going to use myself as a case study (God forbid I should use someone else and get sued for something like slander or liable or one of those uglies!)

In my opinion, some of my strengths are (and if you have know me and have a different opinion great!  Keep it to yourself though, because remember – “other people’s opinions of me are none of my business!)

1.    I am a ‘doer’ – I get so sick and tired of going to meetings that just go around and around and no decisions are made.  Going to a meeting to set up another meeting,  makes no sense to me whatsoever and wastes my time.  So get the ball rolling, make a decision and get going!

2.    Making quick decisions, based on the information that I have available at the time that the decision is made.  Another pet hate of mine.  People who agonize over making a decision.  Then before the decision is made they ask everyone and anyone,  what they should do, until they hear an answer that sounds vaguely like what they had in mind.  Then that’s their decision – you see they can then abdicate the responsibility if something goes wrong, because they got advice from somebody else.  For goodness sake, make a decision and if it’s wrong – correct it and move on!

3.    Change!  It’s going to happen whether you like it or not.  If you don’t get with the program it will drag you along with it or you will get left behind totally.  For my own part, it is easier on the nerves to keep up and not be like a salmon and swim against the water flow!  Look, let’s be realistic – I am not going to change something just for the sake of change – it definitely has to have a reason and the result must be either the same as what I have or better – or no change.  Be prepared to have an open mind though.  Someone else may be able to do it “better” than you or have a better idea than you.

4.    Judgement!  Don’t be so quick to judge someone by the way that they look, or speak (or don’t).  You don’t know them.  You have no idea what their lives are like or what trials and tribulations they have gone through in life.  One of my best clients today is someone who I met in a pub, wearing dirty shorts and a stained, dirty, smelly, torn t-shirt.  He had just come back from a fishing weekend and they had run out of beer and he was dying for an ice cold one.  The man runs 4 businesses, has a yacht, a helicopter and several speedboats!  Don’t judge until you know the person better.

5.    Listening.  My friend Geraldine always tells me that her mum used to tell her that “God gave us two ears and only one mouth for a reason”.  If you are talking all the time, you miss out on listening to not only what the other person is saying, but also what they are needing.  Quite often, what they are needing is some help in their business which either you can give to them or one of the people in your database can assist them.

6.    Opportunities.  I can go crazy when I hear people saying “ work is scarce”.  Actually it is the other way around – there is a huge abundance of work  and an even greater abundance of opportunity out there – it’s just a matter of recognising it.  Once you have recognised it – do something about it.  It’s not going to just fall like manna from heaven!

7.    Networking.  Because I am a natural networker – it stands to reason that networking is one of my strengths.  During the course of my ramblings on the subject, you will get to understand hope fully the nature of the beast and be able to work with it.

 

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