Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Networking your way to success

As the leader of your team it's important you have other people from outside who you can turn to and bounce ideas off. How do you find such springboards? Networking is the answer and while many of us dread to do it, it can payoff handsomely and improve our leadership immensely.

Some people seem very natural at networking while most of us find it quite intimidating. take some time to consider the benefits and you will see that this is a skill you must develop.

Establishing a professional set set of acquaintances involves a complex set of variables. You want to meet the amount of positive attention without seeming to be over the top. Consider these ides and see if it can help you along in networking to find your group.

Make your first minute count. It is less important in how you dress as to how you express yourself. In this case the non-verbal signs will be adding more than what you say, ensure your facial expressions, posture and willingness to launch into a conversation all convey a positive attitude and delight in meeting the other person.

Start with a pleasant greeting and an outstretched hand and confidently introducing yourself. This maybe a bit scary the first few times you do this - however the more you try it out and maintain the positive action the more likely you are of success, and if turns out this person ignores you - so what?, at the worst you have wasted 30 seconds.

To get your self into the right frame of mind, consider your ideas as you begin the conversation:
What can I learn from this person?
Am I making this person comfortable so they'll chat with me? and
Am I demonstrating enthusiasm for the chance to know them?
Once you have the conversation happening maintain a positive stance by standing on both feet pointing to the person talking. Look at them directly while talking to them and continue to communicate in warm and genuine manner.

Give it a try and see how you go. If you're new to this then set yourself a modest goal of finding two or three new contacts each week and see how it works out.

The strength you gain from having a strong network of professional contacts will stand you in good stead for many years and as you develop your relationships with them they will be happy to help you improve in your leadership.

How do you find networking? Is it a labour or love? Why not share your results and tell me what works best for you.

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