Sunday, January 10, 2010

Networking in 2010

There is a tremendous amount of emphasis today upon the use of various “Social Networking Sites” as well as Business and Professional sites in order to “grow our networks”.

The choices are daunting! Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flicker, Pulse, LinkedIn, Spoke…. The number and variety of networks is almost overwhelming, so you must determine what your goals are for the use of networking sites and narrow your focus to a few which are best suited for your style and needs.

It’s easy to get caught-up in the huge amounts of information available through these sites, and in fact, I’ve found that I could almost make it a “part time job”!

For business use, a very good rule of thumb is to look upon the use of these sites as just another task; a tool you use in your business. Dedicate a specific amount of time you are willing to spend weekly using the sites, and then stick to it. Many people need to evaluate the amount of time they spend now, and ensure they are being productive with that time.

Depending upon your vocation, your goals might be to locate and connect with others in your industry, make sales contacts, or find prior business associates and friends. I’ve even located people I had worked with *ahem* 30 years ago!

I want to challenge you in 2010 to view networking a little differently than you may have in the past.

These sites provide an unprecedented opportunity not only for growth of your business, but more importantly for the growth of true RELATIONSHIPS.

All those “names” on your “connections” lists are people. People with challenges, people with problems, people with families. They are people who have jobs or people who are currently between jobs. This is your chance to actually make a difference in people’s lives at very little cost of time or effort on your behalf.

I’m a firm believer that what you sow, you reap. There are so many things you can do professionally and personally that cost you nothing, yet add tremendous value to relationships, and oh, by the way will add value to your business as well!

Here are some examples of ways you can benefit others and add value to your life through the use of Networking Sites:

  1. Actively seek to do “recommendations” for people deserving of your praise. Don’t be gratuitous; but when you discover a past associate, take a moment to do a recommendation of their work, if deserving.
  2. When you come across someone you know who is between jobs, reach out to them. Have a brief conversation. If possible, get a copy of their resume and pass it along to colleagues for their possible consideration.
  3. In general, let people know that you are not “just” gathering names, but that you are interested in advantaging others; not just advancing yourself.
  4. After visiting with someone, actively watch for opportunities that match the goals of that person. When you find something that might be of interest, pass it along to them.
This approach may seem “Pollyanna” or naive to many, but believe me, it’s the right way to operate.

In the past two years, I’ve had the honor of assisting a number of people connect and get new jobs, and it all started by my reaching out to them in this way.
Conversely, I’ve observed the lives of some who have a reputation for stepping on the backs of others in order to get ahead, and it’s pretty amazing to watch their careers over time. Yes, sometimes the bad guys win but more often it’s the GOOD GUYS that win while the “users” meet with frustration and career problems.

Take every opportunity to help others; it is always the right thing to do. Take a principled approach to your relationships going forward, and you will reap a lifetime of rich benefits both personally and professionally.

I'm genuinely interested in getting to know you personally and professionally. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at any time with questions or requests! Believe me, I value your “connection”! Contact me at


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