Book Review of "Ten Commitments of Networking" by Patricia A. Hamilton (Pacific Grove, CA) - A Complete Guide for a Successful Life! I thought I was only going to read about how to best network my business at my local Chamber of Commerce functions. Instead, I was treated to a mature man's wit and wisdom for living a successful, happy life. In the acknowledgments I was surprised to find Werner Erhard, one of my personal champions, mentioned. I knew then I was in for some surprises and I wasn't disappointed.
Larry James has distilled his own experience of a lifetime, hundreds of books and thousands of sayings into clear and helpful advice that, if followed, can lead one out of inertia and into the successful arena of winners-neatly summarized as his chapter titles.
Landmark Education, another of Erhard's brainstorms, is also beautifully and creatively encapsulated in James' book. The principles taught here can take a lifetime of study and investigation. Buy this book and get it all quickly, follow it to the letter, and you will be excited about every day of your life, creating it consciously, from now on.
Have Irrelevant Conclusions?
I have been networking one way or another since I was 10 years old. On June 6, 2020 I will be 81 years old. That's over 70 years worth of networking experience! And I am blessed to be healthy and still actively networking.
After all these years, I am convinced that many people attend networking events only to be seen!
They dress their Sunday best (that is important), grab a handful of business cards, attend the event and aggressively begin to hand them out like candy hoping that someone will do business with them.
This shouts, "See me! I'm here and very needy! Please do business with me!" and they totally miss the point of what networking is about.
(Gasp!) You've got to be kidding!
Before you get all defensive, this action has an irrelevant conclusion. That's when an instruction to do networking correctly is given, from which a perfectly valid, sound conclusion could be drawn, but despite having all the information, people come to a conclusion so wrong that it's even further from correct and completely missing the point.
The reason we come to irrelevant conclusions is because we aren't investing any attention and intention in understanding how other people experience themselves. We assume everyone thinks and reacts the same way we do. Big mistake.
Know that only being seen may not be their conscious intention, however it may just as well be, because more likely than not they will end up at their office desk with a stack of collected business cards that rarely get followed up on and disappointed that no one seemed excited about what they do. So goes the irrelevant conclusion.
What is business networking and what are the benefits?
You cannot do that by just being seen and handing out business cards! You must create a ritual that reflects your high networking standards.
Having a clear understanding of the definition of networking is a prerequisite for networking success. What you put out to the universe always comes back to you! Disappointment may follow if you expect a return from the person to whom you have contributed. Networking is about building supportive personal and business relationships; it's consistently meeting new people and making new friends, sharing ideas and having lots of fun in the process!
I learned, at a very young age, the value of a business card. As a youngster growing up in Owingsville, Kentucky - at that time, a small town of about 1,000 people - I had to very quickly hone my creative talents to do whatever I should to keep my business in front of as many people as possible.
I learned that unless I presented the possibility that when they did business with me, there were "benefits" for them and their friends, only handing them a business card meant that it would later appear in the trash and nothing was accomplished - another irrelevant conclusion. Helping others is the primary goal, not getting more customers!
"You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar
Business cards are important, and they are not the only business tool you have. YOU are the business and it is up to you to present yourself in a professional way - dressing nice is only part of it.
It has been my experience that a much better way to maximize your networking efforts is to use networking events as an opportunity to develop important new business contacts, not necessarily prospects, although often prospects show up where you least expect them. The emphasis must be on developing new business connections. The importance of making important business connections cannot be understated.
Find creative ways you can help others. . . FIRST! Next, show up and do that!
The first rule of self-promotion is to talk about your work to anyone and everyone all the time. I do this by being curious and asking questions about what they do. Eventually the conversation shifts to what I do.
"You call attention to yourself by paying attention to others." ~ Larry James
For those of you who know me, I may not be as visible as I once was, but know that I have learned that it is important to "do" networking rather that to just be seen at networking events. Using the phone, social media and more to stay in touch works too.
I love the excitement of discovering a new idea that introduces more customers to my business. I enjoy brainstorming with others about ideas that have worked for them. That is also part of networking. Most great promotional ideas can be adapted to your business with a little creativity. Never pass up an opportunity to promote yourself and your business. I've learned to find other high quality people to join the networking journey with me.
"Those who take networking seriously; as an art to be learned; as a skill to be fine-tuned; and who stay connected to those people who count, can generally find out what they want in three to six phone calls to those in their network." ~ Larry James
When you understand the concept of networking, create a plan of action, and commit to work that plan, you can experience a new kind of momentum that will put your business and your life on FAST FORWARD!
Now. . . get out there! How much networking you do is up to you. It's a good idea to put some effort into expanding your collection of contacts all the time. Don't wait until you need something. You must first give. The getting comes second!
Always remember the five most important words you can say while networking:
Copyright © - Larry James. Adapted from the book, Ten Commitments of Networking Creative Ways to Maximixe Your Personal Connections."
Customer Appreciation Idea! - Here's a novel way to say, "Thank you" to your customers and build stronger relationships with them. Introduce them to business networking. Invite your customers (and/or prospects) to one of our business seminars. You decide who to invite and make the necessary arrangements for the meeting site (which could be in your office). You can even provide refreshments and handout materials about your company's products and services. Invite your own company employees to attend or the top producers as a reward for recent achievements. We will help you develop the perfect seminar that will have the desired effect. Some companies we work with make this an annual event.
Call, write or send an e-mail for information about booking a seminar or keynote for your group!
Speaker Referral Service - If you are looking for someone to speak on a subject other than networking or personal relationships give us a call. Larry has many friends who are professional speakers and will be happy to refer you to speakers who speak on other topics.
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