Smarter Networking

The management expert’s knowledge will never cease to hold true, because in a 21st century business world, networking assumes crucial importance. Your ascent to success is nowadays determined not as much by your appraisals, but the kind of people you flaunt on your quick dial list. People don’t mind being used say HR experts. Networking is an exercise you do everyday whether you’re a professional or an aspiring civil servant. And in the age of Blackberrys and mass messaging a little lesson on networking etiquette is imperative.

Here are 10 ways for smarter networking along with some etiquette lessons.

Know your Purpose:

It sounds obvious but many youngsters in the field, especially those seeking a job waste their contacts time when they don’t really know what they want to do, where they want to work or how their contact might be helpful to them. Think about what companies you want to target through networking and how you can identify connections that will lead you to those employers.

Efficient networking is not only about making contacts but extracting relevant information from them as and when there is a need. If you value your newly, made contact, don’t ask him/her questions that you can otherwise answer by dong a little basic research. Also, even while speaking about small topics, get thorough knowledge before hand. The more you know about your contact companies and backgrounds the more impressed they will be.

Dudes and dudettes who have been compulsive daters will know this point. Your contacts will be much more wiling to help someone who is confident and capable than someone who is begging and whining. Job seekers, don’t forget that though it’s high priority for your job hunt is not so to most of your network.

Even when you are bubbling with opinions and energy that can impress anyone, keep it all to yourself when someone’s talking. Listen alternatively and later think about what makes your contact say this to you. Thank you notes are passé now with the advent of text messages, so key in those smileys on your phone after your meeting.

Dropping into a contact’s office at a peak hour of business and asking for a small favor is a selfish thing to do. When you call a current or prospective member of your network, always ask if he/she has time to talk. When the situation allows, bide your time before launching into networking conversation.

It is important not to burden your contact with overwhelming request for help and advice. If you can’t keep your words to yourself come up with questions which will inform you more when answered. Let your questions outnumber the favors. You can always ask for more at a later time.

Just because you have caught hold of a big fish in your field, don’t start showing off in social or business conversation about your achievement. If you are networking to get through to an even bigger fish, get permission before using someone’s name to approach another prospective contact. Need less to say, when you are exploring for new contacts of your network tell prospective contacts how you got their names.

In the long run, you ought to realize that your contact thing will make you meet many interesting people who might benefit you in your personal life too. Thus, be careful with your use of the word networking. Also, not to advertise the fact that that is what you are doing. Instead, think or yourself as building relationships and seeking advice.

Of course, the competitive few won’t advise you this. Be sensitive to just how much a contact is willing to do for you and don’t push beyond that limit. Be persistent but not annoying.

The idea of reciprocity is perhaps the most important aspect of networking. Offer your help to your contacts and supply needed information whenever possible.