By Cynthia Good
Successful networking is about more than collecting business cards and meeting the right people for your own benefit. It’s also about seizing opportunities to help others – whether it’s making a job referral or just linking two clients with mutual interests.
The more you enrich and empower the members of your network, the more their success and power will return to further your own career – often in ways you’d never expect. When expanding your network, if you’re unable to get that all-important meeting with the top decision-maker, don’t throw in the towel. Seek out someone else in the organization who believes in you or your idea and can act as an advocate.
To recap, here are five quick tips for networking success:
1. Network to help others as well as yourself. All the common sayings – what goes around comes around, the more you give the more you get, and so on – are really true.
2. Target one key person. Instead of giving out cards to the masses, pinpoint the key figures who can help you accomplish your goals. If you can’t get to a certain decision-maker immediately, find someone in his or her organization who will support your cause.
3. Make yourself prominent in the community. Join a nonprofit board, make speeches, and write articles and blogs (even for free) as a way to establish yourself as an expert and widen your network.
4. Tap into the virtual world. Social and professional online networks are growing fast and can be a great place to make alliances and keep customers up to date. See pinkmagazine.com for more information on how to leverage networking sites likeLinkedIn.comor zoominfo.com.
5. Close the deal. Now that you know how to build a network, make sure it works for you. Practice asking for what you want!
Questions? Comments? BigIdeaCES@CNBC.com