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Networking for success – You snooze, you lose

Thursday, May 18 2017

Dear New to Networking,

You’ve heard it over and. over again. If you want to. be successful in life, you. have to make contacts.

I’m not talking about the person that. can get you a discount on a pair of. designer shoes or fast track a service,. but the people that can secure your. professional career.

And as much as you may resent it,. it is who you know that can get you. and your organisation ahead. You. just have to look around our business. community to see evidence of how. people benefit from networking. There. are several professional associations. around, such as AFETT, which proves. that for years professionals have. networked to enhance business. success. Those who don’t often wind. up passed over.

But before we run through some. useful tips, let’s be clear on one thing,. networking is not about “sucking up”. to people you think will get you to the. top of the ladder, but about advancing. your career via intelligent dialogue and. mutually beneficial connections.

So, here are some well-practiced. rules for effective networking:. In addition to professional. associations, you will also find. numerous opportunities to network at. conferences, cocktail parties, product. launches and seminars. Look for. events where the people you want to. meet will attend and be prepared to. invest some money to participate.

Decide early on what you want. to achieve. Go to the event with an. achievable, realistic goal, such as. meeting a specific individual, and don’t. leave until you have achieved it.

People love to talk about. themselves, but some topics are taboo.

For “safe” questions and conversation. starters, remember the rule of FOR: F –. family; O – occupation; R – recreation. We are all in business to get ahead,. and everyone you network with. has the same goals as you. So don’t. be ashamed of who you are or why. you are networking. Talk about your. business and ambitions - people. like to associate themselves with. individuals that get things done and. are going places. Have your business. cards easily accessible, and make sure. they are legible and present relevant. information. If necessary include. details on your business.

Ask each person you meet for two. cards - one to pass on to someone. else (tell them you plan to do this) and. one to keep. This sets the stage for. networking to happen. Write notes on. the back of business cards you receive. so you remember who gave them to. you.

Be up-to-date on current affairs,. particularly on issues that affect the. group you are networking with, so. you can ask and answer questions. knowledgeably. If there are cocktails. and hors d’oeuvres, take one thing at. a time so you always have a free hand. to shake or present your business card.

Avoid nibbles that look tricky or messy. to eat and limit your alcohol intake,. even if it is free.

If you are shy, “practice” with. low priority networks to build your. confidence. Go to functions or. conferences with someone who isn’t. timid, and ask them to introduce you to. people you want to get to know. Offer. to join a committee or working group. that will “force” you to talk to others.

And by the way, just joining is not. enough to “get networked” – you have. to get involved and take part, so that. people really get to know who you are. and what you stand for.Don’t ask for. help or try to close a deal, but practice. the “givers gain” philosophy: if I help. you, you’ll help me, and we’ll both do. better as a result of it. In other words,. if you don’t genuinely attempt to help. the people you meet, then you are not. networking effectively. If you can’t give. someone a referral, try to offer some. information that might be of interest. to them, such as details about an. upcoming event.

Always follow up – if you say you. are going to call, call. Send a thank. you note if the person has given. you information of value, or email. to reiterate how much you enjoyed. meeting them. Relax and enjoy it.

Reward yourself for achieving your. goal and remember that it gets easier. each time you do it. High visibility. is the end product of being a good. networker which means doing those. things that help you become known. as an effective, take-charge person to. people who will remember you when. opportunities develop later.

Good luck, AFETT.

AFETT is a not-for-profit organisation. formed in 2002 with the goal of bringing. together professional women and. engaging in networking opportunities,. professional training and business ideas.

ASK AFETT is a column meant to address. issues and concerns of professionals. seeking advice to assist in progressing. in their careers. Today’s response. was written by AFETT member, Lara. Quentrall-Thomas, Founder of AFETT. and chairman of Regency Recruitment. & Resources Ltd. Learn more about. AFETT at www.afett.com, search for. AFETT Events on Facebook, follow us @. AFETTEXECS on Twitter or contact us at. 354-7130. Email us your career-related. questions at admin.afett@gmail.com.

.

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