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You would have seen my recent tweet about networking where I shared:
“Savvy business owners dedicate time to build their online and offline networks. Do you?”

Are you a savvy business owner? Are you actively networking your way to the top of your game?

Or, do you realise that this is something you should be doing, however life and ‘being too busy’ just gets in the way. Therefore, you don’t start networking until your project list starts to decline and you need to get some more business on your books.

Networking (both online and offline) is something I’ve been doing for many years. And, building my network has not only enabled me to make some great friendships and collegial relationships, it has also opened the doors to many opportunities.

These opportunities include invitations to participate as a guest speaker (or keynote speaker) in webinar/teleseminar series; national/global conferences; telesummits; radio/podcast interviews; Tweet Chats; as well as contributing articles as guest author for various magazines and blogs.

Would you like to receive opportunities like these to build your profile as an authority in your field?

You can! By building and nurturing your network.

So, if you know that networking is something you should be doing more of, my coach’s request for you this week is to make a commitment to be more proactive in your networking efforts.

Here are three things you should be aware of when it comes to building a solid network and networking your way to the top:

1. Think: Quality Vs Quantity

Don’t get sucked in by the numbers.

While it’s nice to think you’ve got lots of followers and people in your network, instead think about building quality relationships with people who have similar interests as you and in the work you are doing. Don’t try to boost the number of people you are associated with by connecting with anyone and everyone.

As a business owner the people who you should be looking to build quality relationships with are potential customers, suppliers/vendor, joint venture opportunities and other key stakeholders. These people are far more likely going to be interested in what you have to say and have information that will be of interest to you – therefore the relationship is one that has mutual benefits.

So, think quality relationships, not the quantity of people you are connected with.

2. Think: ‘Connection’ NOT ‘Promotion’

Want to know one of the ways you can tarnish your relationship with someone you’ve just met? Send them information about your products and/or services “just in case they are interested”.

This is spamming and something I see happening all the time. In fact it was occurring so often that I wrote this article: Social Media Etiquette: Are you developing (or destroying) your online relationships. Hopefully you don’t do any of these things.

Don’t be a spammer.

Networking is about building relationships – it’s about nurturing and strengthening your connections with people. It’s not about promoting your products and services.

People are more likely to invest, recommend or joint venture with someone they know, like and trust. Therefore focus on building these things with people in your network. You never know where this could lead.

3. Think: ‘Giving’ NOT ‘Taking’

Nurturing the relationships with the people in your network by sharing relevant information and showing a genuine interest in what they are doing is important.

Don’t be the person whose one goal is to get as much information from their network without giving anything back.

Not sure how you can give to your network? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Reconnect with someone you haven’t communicated with in a while and ask them how they are and what they are working on.
  • Found an article that would be of interest to one of your contacts? Send them a link to the article so they can add this to their resources.
  • Heard about a success of one of your connections? Congratulate them for the great work they are doing.
  • Has one of your contacts written an article? There are numerous ways you can strengthen your relationship with this person:
    • Share their article with your community on Facebook, Twitter and/or Linkedin.
    • Write a thoughtful comment beneath their article if they have also published this on their blog.
    • Add a trackback to their article in one of your articles.
  • Retweet or reply to one of their comments on Twitter.
  • Like, Share and/or comment on their Facebook post.
  • Add a comment or contribute a response if your contact has shared a post on Linkedin.
  • Answer a question and contribute some resources on Linkedin Answers.
  • Thank someone who has just retweeted and shared one of your articles or comments.
  • Respond and thank people who have left a comment on your blog.

Remember, building a solid network is something you should be doing as part of your daily business building efforts – even if you commit to just spending 15 minutes a day to put into action some of the above suggestions.

What do you think? Have I inspired you to be more proactive in your networking efforts? Do you have any other suggestions on how you can ‘give’ and contribute to your network? Let me know in the comment section below. It’s always nice to hear from my readers.


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