by C.J. Hallock
Networking is no more a innate skill than tying your shoes is, so don’t fall under the limiting belief that ‘a few individuals have it,’ and that you don’t. That’s crazy talk. Supreme networkers plainly use a combination of basic skills that are all absolutely, completely within the grasp of anybody who genuinely desires to learn them. Most individuals never will, however (but you’re not ‘most individuals’ are you?).
Granted, some individuals seem to be by nature superb at networking, but that doesn’t mean the average individual can’t be dandy at it. The reason these individuals seem to be ‘naturals’ is plainly because they’ve spent a lot more time rehearsing than you have. Their chosen profession might have automatically pressured them to learn some of the key skills that master networkers use. But it all boils down to practice and the right knowledge.
So keep this in mind: although there will always be aces who have a born level of talent that seem inconceivable for you to reach, there’s nothing blocking you from getting more than competent enough to achieve a great deal. It takes a brilliance to write like Mozart, but it just takes practice to bring in money playing his music. There’s enormous value in face to face interaction with individuals, but it doesn’t have to be a major part of a successful networking scheme.
You are able to do just as well networking online – occasionally even better. Think about this – as you move up the ladder towards higher-level contacts, it’s going to be more difficult to get ‘face time’ with them. If you’ve ever been at a crowded seminar, you know what I’m saying. You can be talking to your perfect contact and see that you only have five minutes with them.
Online, matters are different. You can explore somebody before you contact them and step-up your chance of making a solid first impression. You can leverage e-mail, instant messenger and phone to produce the casual conversations that produce firm connections. The bottom line is don’t undervalue the networking might you can exert using your keyboard and phone. It can be heftier than any face-to-face you’ve done before.
To be a supreme networker you’ve got to have a plan. You’ve got to recognize what your endpoints are (‘endpoints’ being either the upper-level individuals or the forms of resources you’re trying to associate with). You’ve got to formulate a solid plan to work your way to those endpoints as efficiently and effectively as imaginable. And you’ve got to recognize what you have to offer that will make it worth people’s while to put you in touch with who (and what) you’re truly after.