Definition: Developing and using contacts made in business for purposes beyond the reason for the initial contact. For example, a sales representative may ask a customer for names of others who may be interested in his product.

Many people go to networking events, but how many people really know how to network effectively.  Networking, in the eyes of most people, is getting out and meeting people.  But when you think about it isn’t it more.  Ask a successful networker and they will tell you that networking is a structured plan to get to know people who will do business with you or introduce you to those who will.

To make the best plan, ask yourself:

          1.  What makes an effective networker?

– When answering this, think about what a good networker does.  How does he or she act? What is his or her basic attitude?

2.  What do I want to achieve?

– When thinking about this, be specific in setting your goals.  For example, a good goal may be “To give at least 6 referrals per month.” Or “to greet every guest that comes to a meeting.”

The trick with networking is to be proactive. This means taking control of the situation instead of just reacting to it. Networking requires going beyond your comfort zone and challenging yourself.  If you put the effort out, people will respond.

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