Friday, December 20, 2013

Axiom 44: Networking

"The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work." -Robert Kiyosaki

"Poverty, I realized, wasn't only a lack of financial resources; it was isolation from the kind of people that could help you make more of yourself." -Keith Ferrazzi

Networking is one of the most critical things that everyone should do that somehow doesn't get the priority that it deserves. This world really is about who you know just as much as what you know.

So why don't people put more emphasis on networking if the potential payback is so great?

I believe there are a few misconceptions that put up an internal barrier preventing active, outgoing networking: 

The first misconception is networking appears to be something that only extroverted, smooth-talking sales people can be great at. The truth is that we all meet new people in business each and every week. Just take a little extra time to reach out and remember these people and make sure that you are memorable in their minds as well. Being sincere will go along way and you don't need to put a sales pitch on everyone you meet just to win them over.

The second common misconception is that it requires a good amount of time and resources to become a great networker  The truth is that now with the advent of online sites like LinkedIn networking is free and easy. There are also more traditional networking opportunities in the form of joining industry organizations, attending trade shows, visiting customers or vendors, receiving trade magazines, and so on. Many employers are willing to cover the costs of these traditional networking activities if they see a benefit to the company from it.

The third misconception is that you need to network with really successful people to see results. The truth is that we all started at the bottom. Networking at the bottom will pay off eventually. The man or woman you take the time to help when they are starting out may be indebted to you someday if they become successful down the line. Everyone is trying to move up in this world so don't devalue a connection because of their current experience.

Really successful people have numerous connections across multiple industries. Make today the start of trying to actively build your professional network. If you do this successfully you'll never find yourself without a job, without a client base, without a favor you can call in, and most importantly you'll never find yourself without the resources to bounce back in tough times.