Thursday, June 7, 2007

Profit magazine: Are You Getting the Most of Your Networking?

Are You Getting the Most of Your Networking?

An unspoken yet critical component of business is trust. The people who know and trust you is essential to your enterprise. That’s why business networking has always been important to successful businesses. Good networking is more than just remembering names and faces; it’s also about developing real relationships. Take our quiz to see how you measure up.

For local contacts, have you joined a professional businessperson’s group like the Rotary Club, Downtown Business Association or an industry specific group to meet, discuss, share, brainstorm and network?
If you have joined a business club, are you willing to spend the time to develop real and sincere relationships, or is it all “just business” to you?
For international contacts, have you considered joining an internet-based networking site like or
Do you make it a point to go to at least one industry conference per year and meet enough other people to make it worth your while for the coming year?
Do you enhance the quality of your networking contacts by appropriately following up with a thank you note or email to genuinely extend your interest and appreciation in meeting that person?
Have you made networking part of your strategic plan by writing it down, assigning staff and a budget to join organizations and attend business functions to carry out relationship-building activities?
Have you practiced a 10-15 second “verbal business card” filled with benefits of doing business with you, or do you just wing it, hoping to create the best impression?
When working an event (and not just the room), do you tend to focus on just a few people – and so miss most people - or do you limit your interactions with any one person to 10 minutes maximum?
Do you consciously seek to create a positive first impression through your appearance, demeanour, posture, handshakes, eye contact and facial expressions?
Do you look to “Pay It Forward” by going out of your way to help other business people, even if no immediate payback is obvious, by introducing them to a possible partner or business opportunity?
When you network, do you speak your goals clearly, saying what it is that you do, who you do it for and how you might be able to help each other further?
Have you taken the time to read a few of the excellent (and entertaining) books on networking, such as The Frog and Prince: Secrets of Positive Networking To Change Your Life?
Have you used the three best questions "How did you get your start in the 'widget' business?", "What do you enjoy most about what you do?" and the key question, “How can I know if someone I meet would be a good prospect for YOU?"
Given that 2 out of 10 prospects make up 80% of your sales, do you know who those people are and do you go out of your way to network and keep in touch with them?
Have you considered starting your own industry-focussed blog or e-newsletter to create a buzz for yourself and so that clients and colleagues feel they know you even before they meet you?

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