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Ines Temple

Ten Serious Career Networking Myths & Mistakes

Human connection and communication make the world go ’round – especially in business and the corporate environment. It’s impossible to have a successful business and career without the help and support of your coworkers, clients and community. Networking is an essential activity but it must be done conscientiously and with skill in order to be effective. Unfortunately, all too often people make the mistake of thinking networking isn’t worth their while or even worse, network with only their own interests in mind. The following ten statements are some of the most common misconceptions about networking and why they are so damaging. Do any of these sound familiar?

  1. “I don’t like to make contacts.” Making contacts is “the conscious and voluntary activity of establishing and maintaining genuine and long-term relationships with persons who we appreciate and respect.” It’s a part of living and interacting within a community and we do it every day!
  2. “Contacts are useful only to find work.” It’s a fact that 9 out of 10 jobs are landed, whether directly or indirectly, through contacts. But networking is about making those relationships worthwhile, renewing the bond and mutually redefining our identity, image and reputation with each interaction!
  3. “I network only when it’s convenient for me.” This is tantamount to saying “I remember you only when I need you.” Networking solely for your own benefit is self-centered and may be even manipulative. It’s the perfect way to destroy a relationship. People can smell manipulation miles away!
  4. “I’m too busy.” Although nothing beats face-to-face interactions to build relationships of trust and affection, digital alternatives are an effective way to prevent us from vanishing from the face of the earth, a deadly sin in the professional world.
  5. “It distracts me from serious work.” Networking takes time and energy but it is key to employability: it is the “sales force” of our image and reputation. Without contacts, our accomplishments and progress remain unknown and our personal brand ends up being worthless.
  6. “I don’t like to go to social events.” The professional world also provides alternatives to interact with new and diverse people, and expand your thinking patterns. Hanging out with the same people every day shows disregard for others and we may end up left behind.
  7. “You didn’t hear this from me but…” Using the contact network to harm reputations or to gossip destroys our credibility and our own reputation as serious or loyal individuals, even if we only become involved by listening. Is it worth it? You never know when gossip will come back to haunt you.
  8. “I can only afford to build relationships with important contacts.” It’s a serious mistake to think that only high-level contacts are valuable and look down on others or be arrogant. All people are worthy regardless of what they work on. There’s no such thing as a small contact!
  9. “I have very few contacts.” As adults, we usually have 500 to 1,000 friends and acquaintances between school and college classmates, work colleagues and former colleagues, people we know from our club, gym, the neighborhood, church, from our business, and the relatives and acquaintances of all of the above. Suppliers and clients, former suppliers and clients. Parents of our children’s friends… Make your list and protect it – ideally, in the cloud.
  10. “I must impress my contacts.” The essence of every good relationship is trust, not impressing others. Acting appropriately, and being genuinely warm and authentic opens the doors to trust and credibility. Being polite to everyone and listening to them with a real interest benefits your personal and professional image and reputation. The secret is to inspire others and always leave something valuable for them in every interaction!

Networking isn’t so much about making as many connections as possible, it’s about strengthening the connections you have, ensuring they become more meaningful and authentic. When you ditch the myths and avoid the above networking mistakes, not only will the connections your forge flourish but so will your personal brand and your career.


About the Author

Ines TempleInternationally-regarded, award-winning career success pundit, consultant and speaker Ines Temple is President of LHH – DBM Peru and LHH Chile—companies that are leading career transition and executive coaching organizations in their respective countries. She is also Chairman of the Board of CARE Peru, a leading non-profit humanitarian organization fighting the injustice of poverty with a special focus on disadvantaged girls. Temple is also a speaker at conferences and universities around the world due to her keen perspectives and insights, also making her a valued media expert source. She may be reached online at www.InesTemple.com.

Jeffrey Gitomer

How’s your networking working? Better if you follow the rules.

I went to a networking meeting last week hosted by a formal networking organization called Business Network International.

Many of you know this group. They have meetings all over the world. This particular chapter meeting was in New York City, and is populated by sophisticated business people who are on fire.

NOTE WELL: NYC business people, in general, take no prisoners. This BNI chapter takes no amateurs. And their meetings are exceptionally well structured.

I went as a guest – without an agenda – just to meet people and provide value.

HISTORY: I began my networking career more than 25 years ago, so I consider myself a relatively sophisticated meeting attendee. This particular meeting is a pure networking group, rather than a social networking event, like a Chamber of Commerce meeting or an association meting.

The group predominantly meets to give business and get business. My interest was to meet new people, and observe how the meeting was run.

Before we get too deep into BNI and the NYC group, I’d like to review some networking imperatives in case you’re about to go to one of these meetings.

NOTE WELL: Most people take networking for granted, and think of it more as a place to meet friends and clients rather than capture an opportunity. They also fail to realize that people, whether you know them or not, are cultivating an impression of you – not just about you look like, but also based on how you act and how you dress.

Your physical presence, your physiology, and your communication prowess can determine whether the outcome is business or no business.

These are my top 9.5 rules for achieving positive and profitable networking results:
1. I shake and look. When I shake someone’s hand, it’s a firm grasp and a direct look in the eye.
2. I smile. Even in New York City. I found that by giving smile, I get a smile.
3. I ask before I tell. Whether I ask for their name, or a simple “how are you?” I want to hear the other person before they hear me.
4. I give before I get. I have always tried to make connections for others before I ask for one myself.
5. I don’t make small talk. I make big talk. I don’t want to talk about the weather. I want to talk about life and business life.
6. I want to make certain that I take a ‘next step’ if the opportunity is there. Anything from a simple exchange of business cards, to a cup of coffee, to an office meeting, to an invite to a social event, I want to make sure that my objective is achieved before I leave to talk to the next person.
7. Known or unknown? That is the question. I prefer to invest the majority of my networking time with people that I do not know. The reason is that I tend to make small talk with people that I know, and bigger talk with people that I don’t know. My personal rule has always been, small talk leads to small business or no business, and big talk leads to big business, or the opportunity for big business.
8. I like everyone and qualify no one. If you like people, it’s likely they will like you back. If you try to qualify people (by asking them questions about money or circumstance), their guard will go up.
9. Every connection need not be a sale. Make friends, build rapport, and provide value to everyone without prejudging or qualifying them. I refer to it as: “the rule of you never know.” And “you never know” has no time limit. Sometimes “you never know” happens in a week, and sometimes it happens 5 years later. That’s why it’s called “you never know.”
9.5 I am brief. Time allocation at a networking event is not an option. If there are 60 people in the room and the meeting lasts for one hour, you have 1 minute per person if you want to meet everyone. If you take 5 minutes with each person, you can only meet 12 people. The choice is yours, but be aware of time.

I’ve just given you the parameters, the guidelines, and the rules that I have personally been following for 25 years. There are other rules and you can find them in my Little Black Book of Connections, but these are the major ones that will make connections, make appointments, build relationships, and ultimately make sales.

Next week I am going to talk about why the BNI meeting was incredible, and how you can learn from it. Stay tuned.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey GitomerJeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

Recommended Resources – Little Black Book of Connections

Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships
by Jeffrey Gitomer

About the Book

Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer provides practical, step-by-step methods for connecting with others in a wide variety of different roles including:

  • Superiors
  • Mentors
  • Co-workers
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Family and friends

As with his other books and numerous articles, Jeffrey addresses each communication challenge with a concise list of immediately implementable actions augmented by insightful tips for further improving individual performance.

Benefits of Using this Book

Connecting with others is the foundation of individual success. Without personal connections, we are unable to positively engage and influence those around us in a way that propels us to the achievement of our personal and professional goals.

StrategyDriven Contributors like the Little Black Book of Connections for its immediately actionable advice for creating meaningful relationships with others in a way that positively engages them to support the communicator. We’ve implemented many of the recommendations Jeffrey presents in his book to great success.

Jeffrey’s principles for connecting with others promote respectful engagement. Recommendations contained within the Little Black Book of Connections focus on positive relationship building through the offering of open, honest communications and meaningful value provision by the communicator.

Little Black Book of Connections provides immediately actionable methods for effectively engaging others in a positive, respectful manner making it a StrategyDriven recommended read.