Building Your Network

Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?”

Networking is ultra important in todays business world. In order to succeed you must rely on others. The right people can always help you. Follow this ultimate guide to networking in all parts of your career life.   

We live in a society, and as a member of that society, it is likely that every change in your life is strongly influenced by other people in some way.

The courses you take in school that shape your career are often at the instigation of a friend or counselor.  The books you read, the tapes you listen to, and the seminars you attend are almost invariably the result of a suggestion from someone you respect.

Influence and its Impact on Networking

The occupation you select, the job you take, and the key steps in your career are largely determined by the people you meet and talk to at those critical decision points in your life.  In fact, at every crossroad in your life there is usually someone standing there pointing you in one direction or another.

How to Network With People

According to the law of probabilities, the greater number of people you network with who can help you at any given time, the more likely it is that you will know the right person at the right time and in the place to give you the help you need to move ahead more rapidly in your life.  The more people you know, the more doors of opportunity will be open to you and the more sound advice you will get in making the important decisions that shape your life.

When you develop a positive reference group, you begin to become a member of the in-crowd at your level of business.  The starting point in this process is to develop a deliberate and systematic approach to networking throughout your career.

The Importance of Networking in Business

People like to do business with people they know.  They like to socialize and interact with people with whom they are familiar.  And they like to recommend people they trust.  Fully 85% of the best jobs in America are filled as the result of a third party recommendation.  The best networkers are never unemployed for very long.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they begin networking is scattering their time and energy indiscriminately and spending their time with people who can be of no help at all.  Even if they attend organization meetings, they often end up associating with people who are neither particularly ambitious or well-connected.

When you network, you must be perfectly selfish.  You want to become all you can over the course of your career.  You want to rise as far as you can. Any success you could ever desire will require the active involvement and help of lots of other people. Your job is to focus your energies and attention on meeting the people who can help you and the only way you can do this is by staying away from the people who cannot help you at all.

Networking Tip: Meet People Who are Going Places

When you network, your aim is to meet people who are going places in their lives.  You want to meet people who are ahead of you in their careers and in their organizations. You want to meet people you can look up to with pride. You want to meet people who can be friends, guides and mentors.

You want to think ahead and meet people who can help you move into your ideal future more readily. For this reason, you must sort people into categories: helpful vs. non-helpful, ambitious vs. non-ambitious, going somewhere vs. going nowhere.  Remember, your choice of a reference group in your networking will determine the success of the process.

Business Networking at Work

You begin your networking process at your place of work.  Look around and identify the top people in your organization.  Make these people your role models and pattern yourself after them.  One of the best ways to start networking is to go to someone you admire and ask for his or her advice.  Don’t be a pest.  Don’t tie up several hours of their time.  Initially you should ask for only a few minutes and you should have two or three specific questions.

When you talk to a successful person, ask questions like, “What do you think is the most important quality or attribute that has contributed to your success?” and, “What one piece of advice would you give to someone like me who wants to be as successful as you some day?”  You could also ask, “Can you recommend a particular book, tape, or training program that would help me move along more rapidly in my career?”

There is a law of incremental commitment in networking. It says that people become committed to helping you, or associating with you, little by little over time.  In some cases the chemistry won’t be right and the person with whom you would like to network will really not be interested in networking with you.  Don’t take this personally.  People get into, or out of, networking for a thousand reasons.  However, if there is good chemistry, if you like the person and the person likes you, be patient and bide your time.  Don’t rush or hurry, just let the networking relationship unfold without over-eagerness on your part.  If you try to go too fast, you will scare people away.

How to Network With Your Boss

Instead of asking your superiors for more money, ask for more responsibility.  Tell your boss that you are determined to be extremely valuable to the organization and that you are willing to work extra hours in order to make a more important contribution.

There is nothing so impressive to a boss as an employee who continually volunteers for more responsibility.  Many people have the unfortunate goal of doing as little as possible for as much money as possible. But not the winners.  The winners realize that if all you do is what you’re being paid for today, you can never be paid any more in the future. The person who continually volunteers for extra assignments and does more than is expected gains the respect, esteem and support of his or her boss.

How to Network By Being Helpful

Whenever you do something nice or helpful for others, they feel a sense of obligation.  They feel like they owe you one.  They have a deep subconscious need to pay you back until they no longer feel obligated to you.  The more things you do for people without expectation of return, the more they feel obligated to help you when the time comes.

We have moved from the age of the go-getter to the age of the go-giver.  A go-giver is a person who practices the law of sowing and reaping.  He or she is always looking for opportunities to sow, knowing that reaping is not the result of chance.   You will find that successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others.  Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”

The Importance of Networking Outside of Your Job

Whatever your job or occupation, there are trade and industry associations, business associations and service clubs that you can join.  Excellent networkers are among the best known and most respected people in the community.  To reach that status, they followed a simple formula.  They carefully identified the clubs and associations whose members they can help and support and who can help and support them in return.  And then they joined and participated.

You are determined to make your mark and you do this by jumping wholeheartedly into voluntary activities that move the association ahead.  And the key people will be watching and evaluating you.  The more favorable attention you attract, the more people will be willing to help you when you need them.

Conclusion

Networking fulfills one of your deepest subconscious needs — getting to know people and being known by them.  It fulfills your need for social interaction and for the establishing of friendly relationships.  It broadens your perspective and opens doors of opportunities for you.  It increases the number of people who know and respect you. It makes you feel more in control of your career.  And it can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of your life.

Thank you for reading my article on networking tips for your life. For more information on networking and overall business success download my FREE REPORT BRILLIANT ON THE BASICS.

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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

  • Archan Mehta

    Brian:

    Thanks for your post about networking.

    So many people I know have been employed due to personal connections and memberships in professional associations and organizations.

    There are so many jobs out there that are never even advertised–the hidden job market operates behind the scenes.

    People who are members of certain clubs, associations and fraternities tend to help each other out. Reminds me of the “all for one and one for all” phrase used by the Three Musketeers.

    For example, if you are a member of a prestigious alumni association, such as Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, MIT or Cambridge, your brothers and sisters in your fellowship may go out of their way to help you. Just give ’em a holler!

    Thus, boarding a plane, finding a job, suitable living arrangements, and freelance projects may not be that challenging anymore. That’s the power of networking, as you have described.

    Networking is about visibility, credibility, power and influence. And it can work in your favor if you are ready and willing to work the circuit.

    Thanks for posting this timely reminder.
    It is always a pleasure to read your blog and keep up the great work.

  • http://socialpowerweb.com Brian Schuster

    Great advice here. Social Media allows for more networking and abilities than ever before and I fully intend on using these tips to help me in the future.

    Brian
    socialpowerweb.com

  • http://www.personal-success-factors.co Steve-Success Factors

    More than ever, this advice applies with both online and offline networking. I liked the questions you gave:
    What do you think is the most important quality or attribute that has contributed to your success?” and, “What one piece of advice would you give to someone like me who wants to be as successful as you some day?” You could also ask, “Can you recommend a particular book, tape, or training program that would help me move along more rapidly in my career?”

    Also, I love the idea of asking your boss for more responsibility, versus mentioning money.

    Finally, I like the idea that you give without ever expecting anything in return, letting the Law of Indirect Effort work its magic.

  • http://clintonskakun.com Clinton Skakun

    That’s why blogging is so important now days. There are so many people reading blogs, it’s about reaching a whole new audience in a more convenient way. Social media is the future.

    Cheers,
    Clinton Skakun

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  • http://www.allthingsleadership.blogspot.com Kerry Palmer

    Thanks so much for this post, Brian. You simply can’t go wrong by building good, healthy, lasting relationships!

  • http://drinkjoos.com Lauri Meizler

    As the founder of a business that is based on networking, I am in complete agreement. A large part of the connections I’ve made has been through becoming actively involved in organizations that share the demographic of my business. Our business has sponsored several events and I’ve chaired some key fundrasing events. In turn, I’ve met wonderful people with whom I greatly enjoy spending time and gained loyal customers. It’s so true: the more you give in an intelligent way, the more you receive. I stuck in the word “intelligent” because if you give too much, people can become resentful. This is where the emotional intelligence comes into play.

  • http://relationshipmatters.com Max-Marc Fossouo

    I LOVE this article. As a Relationship Strategist I’ve been developing what I call the Circle of Influence list that helps people manage their contacts based on their ultimate goal and your article reveals the need we all have to get better at itm and the important of relationship. Find my COI list on my blog at http://relationshipmatters.wordpress.com THANKS Brian

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