10 September 2009

3 Ways to Counter the Creepy Crawly Feeling of Networking

Okay, I'm talking to myself here. I admit it. I hate networking.

Well maybe it's more that I'm intimidated by it. Those horrible early morning breakfast clubs of bright eyed, bushy tailed people are my worst nightmare besides dreaming about snakes crawling on me. (Funny, they both give me a creepy crawly sensation)

However ----

Most of us do more informal, unconscious networking than we realize. Time to reframe the creepy crawly feeling, and optimize these moments to help us stay in business.

My favorite form of unconscious networking is to be an active, helpful participant in several online communities. There are multiple opportunities for using this tactic:
  • membership forums and topic specific discussion boards
  • Yahoo groups and other e-lists
  • social media -- post questions, links to resources, compliments to others, not your daily activities
  • blogs -- yours and your comments on others
A second form of unconscious networking that doesn't involve breakfast is the random sharing of info and resources on a personal basis. Whether a tactic for staying in touch with former clients, or cultivating new ones, you can:
  • pass along links to online resources of interest
  • forward notices of others' events
  • send new tips sheets of relevance
  • recommend books, services, workshops
  • ask for their opinions or help
And third, make a point of meeting influence leaders in your niche for lunch or coffee. Ask for their help in understanding the concerns of their friends, colleagues, or clients (as relates to your specialty, of course). Use the information you gain to develop a tip sheet, and send it back to them with your thanks (and your card!). Request that they pass it along to everyone they know who'd be interested.

There. Now isn't that easier than trying to get a word in edgewise at 7:15 am that's coherently self-promoting?

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