Your Network – Are You A Collector or a CONNECTOR?


Networking is more than a collection of names and addresses.

Sadly most people feel that they are networking when they simply add someone to their list of contacts or connections. This is not connecting; this is collecting. If that is your intent then your time would be better spent collecting coins, stamps, sports cards, or some other true collectible. There is much more satisfaction to be gained spending your time in this manner!

Today’s Social Media tools allow you the opportunity to easily go beyond the mere process of collecting. If you are not taking advantage of these tools; the only difference between collecting business cards and shoving them into a drawer, a card file, or a Rolodex is your storage media.

True Networkers Understand that Networking Is More then Collecting

True networkers understand and value relationships. They recognize that there are different levels of relationships and that all relationships start out as a simple connection. They also realize that the depth of a relationship develops over time.

True networkers understand that networking is a give and take process and an exchange of value. Networking is not the act of accumulating names in the event that you may need something in the future. True networking means that you are intent upon offering value to your network hopefully in exchange for value being returned; value that may be received now or sometime in the future. The when is not important!

How to Move from Collector to Connector

If you are involved in any Social Media the process of providing value is simple and does not require large amounts of time. Here are examples of easy ways to provide value:

  • Share articles you find interesting;
  • Provide relevant comment on posts made by members of your network;
  • Like posts made by members of your network;
  • Thank people that invite you into their network;
  • Thank your new connections when they accept your invitation to network;
  • Add new people to your network; which indirectly expands the networks of your connections;
  • Share your expertise when members of your network have questions;
  • Congratulate members of your network when they receive promotions or accept a new job;
  • Comment on the status updates of your connections; or
  • Help your connections make new connections.

In my unscientific observations I find that the simple act of being grateful and thanking someone for connecting sets you apart from over 97% and more likely 99% of the networking population!

The truth is that most people feel that simply accepting or making a connection validates their networking but that’s not true. That is just a start to the relationship; if you want to be a successful networker you must be reaching out and adding value to the relationship.

Conclusion

If you want to be an effective networker; don’t get caught up in this idea that by having a large number of connections will somehow make you a great networker. It doesn’t! A great networker is someone that regularly adds value to their network and cares about their connections.

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Do you approach things with an UPPROACH? With the idea that when you make a change; it shouldn’t just be a change – rather it should be a change for the better. This was the premise that caused UPPROACH to be born. The idea of don’t just do it; do it better!

Tom Staskiewicz speaks, coaches, and consults on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

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Is There a Purpose Behind Your Networking?


When I ask someone how they grow their network; most of the time I hear one of three answers:

  • I only invite people that I know well;
  • I actively invite anyone and I let anyone in; or
  • If they have been following a discussion the answer is; “I’m somewhere in the middle.”

My question to you is where are you in your networking strategy? Or… Do you even have a strategy?

Networking is a dilemma for many because they:

  • Are not sure who should or should not be in their network;
  • Don’t know how many to have in their network;
  • Are confused as to how well they should know someone before bringing them into their network;
  • Do not know how to manage their network;
  • Don’t know how or how frequently to communicate with their network; or
  • Have not learned how to actively network.

Answering any or all of these questions can be a challenge.

You can make it easier on yourself when the first question you ask is: “What is the purpose of my network?” or “Why am I networking?” When you know your purpose the answers to the above questions become much easier.

Developing Your Networking Purpose

Develop your networking purpose first! Making this step your priority will help you decide who you want to invite or allow into your network.

If your purpose is to share personal information; then your network would consist of close friends and family. On the other hand if your purpose is to share information that showcases your talents, expertise, and knowledge; then your network will consist of anyone that finds you and/or your information interesting.

In the remainder of this post I discuss other reasons for networking and other types of networks. I look forward to your comments.

Note: Even though you may have a well defined plan and purpose for your networking you must remember that networking is a two-way street. You must give to receive and you should be giving first. Your network will not produce for you if you do not have a give first attitude!

So what is your purpose? What are you hoping to accomplish through your network? Here are five of the most common reasons for networking…

  1. Sharing information with close friends and family;
  2. Looking for career and business opportunities;
  3. Developing a resource for answering questions pertaining to day-to-day tasks or issues;
  4. Creating a team that can give strategic career, business, industry, economic, or other perspectives; or
  5. Building your personal or product brand.

Some of these reasons are odds with one another and mean that either you need a way to segment your network or you need to have more than one network. Don’t let the confusion bog you down; keep moving!

Social Network

The Social Network is the one where you share personal information with close friends and family. On the Social Network you may discuss movies you see, vacations you take, the food you eat, the things your children do, etc.

Even though the intent may be to keep this among friends and family there is always the risk it may get released; so it is definitely in your best interest to only post things that, if they do get out, they will not come back to haunt you.

Career/Business Opportunity Network

If your purpose for networking is to create career or business opportunities then the people you invite or accept into your network will be those that have opportunities, can create opportunities, or can connect you to opportunities. Your goal is to bring in hiring managers, decision makers, recruiters, business development professionals, people that can connect you to other people or opportunities, and other similar types of individuals.

Resource or Operational Network

If your networking purpose is a resource or operational network then you will fill your network with people that can assist you and your team in completing your day-to-day challenges and tasks. You want people that you can call on for answers and to help with solutions. This is a very task oriented network. Read my previous post Operational Networks Enable You to Make Better Decisions for more on Operational Networks.

Strategic or Perspective Network

If your networking purpose is to gain perspective on the direction of your chosen job, your career progression, your business or organization, your industry, business in general, legislative directions, etc.; then you want to fill your network with experts in the particular area of your interest.

Input from your strategic network will help you answer questions looking forward on the choice you should be making for yourself and/or your business. Your strategic network is like a personal board of directors and consulting team.

Personal Brand Building Network

To build your personal or business brand takes a different approach to networking. With this strategy you want to increase your sphere of influence and you want a network that will help in the process. You want people that have lots of connections, have a reasonable understanding of who you are and what you have to offer, and are willing to recommend, endorse, and promote you. A good perspective on this is Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point.”

Having a large network is fundamental to this UPPROACH. A large network increases the chances that your message will be relayed and that it will be relayed to a large audience. All you need is a couple of individuals with 30,000+ connections to say a thing or two and you have the opportunity to go viral. If you keep your network small; your will have small opportunities. Read my post on Small Networks Equal Small Opportunities.

Networking with Today’s Tools Makes the Networking Easier and at the Same Time More Complex

In the past networking was much more simple; you never had to worry about separating your messages by audience because the ability to share a message with all of your audiences was unfeasible, if not, impossible. That is no longer the case with the vast array of Social Networking tools that exist.

Today the challenges have reversed and sharing is easy while segmenting and controlling the readers or receivers of your message is difficult. In fact, if you are not careful thousands, if not, millions of people can see your message; whether you want them to or not!

A Note to Even the Most Careful Networker

Even though the intent may be to manage your message and keep it to a certain group; the reality is that your message always has the possibility of being spread far and wide. With this in mind it is critical that the messages you post or send; you are willing to share with the world. If that is not the case; you must be extremely careful.

The Internet has a tendency to spread things to a great many people very quickly. The rule is don’t post something you wouldn’t want your mother to know; because she just might see it regardless of your efforts to hide the information. That means that potential employers, business partners, or investors have a chance of seeing the message as well.

Conclusion

To be an effective networker you must have a networking purpose. You must know why you are networking, who you want in your network, and how you will communicate with your network. Without these fundamentals your network will never be able to produce to its full potential for you or your for your connections.
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Do you approach things with an UPPROACH? With the idea that when you make a change; it shouldn’t just be a change – rather it should be a change for the better. This was the premise that caused UPPROACH to be born. The idea of don’t just do it; do it better!

Tom Staskiewicz speaks, coaches, and consults on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

Professional Networking – You Received a Promotion; What About Your Network


Have you or someone that works for you received a promotion lately? With the promotion come changes?

  • Expectations from their supervisors, managers, or executives;
  • There are now expectations from the new subordinates;
  • There are new expectations from peers, both inside and outside of the organization; along with
  • Learning the new job.

These are fairly obvious changes, but there is one that is not so obvious.

Don’t Forget About Your Network

Another change that must happen and most people overlook is the need to change operational and strategic networks! No longer do they depend upon Sally or Joe, who worked next to them, or Mary, their previous boss, for advice and counsel on how to do their job. No longer do they have the same supervisors, managers, or peer groups to help them out.

They must take the UPPROACH and upgrade their network.

New Positions Require New Connections

When a person receives a promotion they need to be looking at the changes that must happen to their network. They need to make contacts at the next level with the people that can help them and their team get their new job done.

Their operational network, those that help with day-to-day issues, and their strategic network, those that provide perspective on the position, the business, the industry, the economy, etc. will require some updating as a result of the promotion.

Don’t Abandon the Past Network; but Build for the New Challenge

The new manager doesn’t abandon those they networked with in the past, but they must recognize that their network must change because the support required will come from new sources.

Many of the failures that occur following a promotion can be directly tied to the failure of the newly promoted individual to make the connections required to succeed at the new level.

The new person needs the connections not only to succeed, but also to endear themselves to those they will at one time or another rely upon or will rely upon them. Bringing these connections into the network can help ensure that no one feels alienated or ignored by the new person.

Ideal Opportunity to Network

Some may be saying that they were never good at networking and they don’t have much of a network. If that’s the case then this is an ideal time to become a networker!

Now that they are into a new position, learning new things; this is an opportunity that they should embrace enthusiastically.

This is also an opportunity for the new person to show their managers that they are serious about the new position and that they are going to make the necessary relationship changes to ensure their success.

So where to start…

Their Operational Network Must Change

The operational network, you know the people that help with the day-to-day tasks, will be different. The new supervisor, manager, or executive must add people from their company to their network that are at the same organizational level and some that are one or two steps up.

The new manager must be bringing the resources into the sphere of influence that can help the manager and team make those day-to-day decisions. This could be members of the accounting, human resources, sales, marketing, engineer, administration, or other groups. Those that can provide valuable input into their day-to-day challenges.

The operational network may include vendors, customers, consultants, industry experts, subject matter experts (SMEs), industry peers, and peers in other industries that can share knowledge and provide additional perspective on the situation.

Operational networks can be a tremendous asset when adapting and building that network in the first 30 – 60 days. The recently promoted will also find people to be very receptive to the request to network.

Your Strategic Network Must Change

Their strategic network – the one that gives them perspective on their position – now and in the future, the company, and the industry – must change. The new manager must identify the people – both inside and outside the organization – that can provide the short and long-term perspective.

These people will be industry and career experts, consultants, company executives – inside and outside the organization, it could include board members, vendors, customers, and others that can provide perspective on where they see the position, the company, the industry, the community, the nation, and other factors that could influence the short and long-term future.

Where the Manager of the New Manager Fits the Picture

The manager of the new manager has a role to play in helping with the networking process. Obviously the new manager will not know everyone that could potentially have an operational or strategic network impact and the manager of the new person must assist in identifying these connections and introducing where necessary.

If the new manager’s manager is not doing this; then the question must be raised as to this manager’s commitment to the new manager’s success.

Conclusion

When careers take a turn by promotion it is incumbent upon the promoted individual to assess and make the necessary additions to their network to ensure their success. Failure to bring in the necessary resources is a formula for disaster.
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Do you approach things with an UPPROACH? With the idea that when you make a change; it shouldn’t just be a change – rather it should be a change for the better. This was the premise that caused UPPROACH to be born. The idea of don’t just do it; do it better!

Tom Staskiewicz speaks, coaches, and consults on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

Small Networks Equal Small Opportunities


Mary, Mary Quite Contrary How Does Your Network Grow?

Yes, I took a little literary license with the children’s rhyme; but, if you are a networker, the question is relevant. How does your network grow? Is it even growing?

Small Networks Limit Your Opportunities

Many people intentionally keep their networks small for a variety of, what I consider, irrational reasons. What they fail to recognize is small networks limit opportunities.

One frequent reason I hear is they only want “people that they “know well” in their network.

In fact LinkedIn is a culprit in fostering this idea. LinkedIn tells you that you should only invite people that you know well. While at the same time LinkedIn encourages you to subscribe to a premium service that allows you to easily connect with those you do not know. To me this is a contradictory and a disservice to their users!

The idea of only connecting with those that you know well is a self-limiting mentality.

When your network consists primarily of people that you “know well” you are surrounding yourself with people that essentially know all the same things that you know.

Small networks limit the influx of new:

  1. Ideas;
  2. Thoughts; and most importantly
  3. Opportunities.

Small Networks Cause Personal Stagnation

When you have a small network comprised of people that you “know well” you keep new ideas and opportunities out. When you cannot grow with new ideas and opportunities your only option is to stagnate.

Stagnation Makes You Less Desirable

Stagnation makes you unattractive to potential employers, business partners, and even customers. In today’s world connections are critical. Employers and business partners look for connections because they are key to growth. Some businesses are now looking at the number of connections prospective employees will bring and making hiring decisions based upon these numbers.

Is Your Network Growing?

Have you added connections from your current work, your associations, your volunteer activities, and your previous work experiences? Do you look for opportunities to continually grow your network?

Growing your network is a critical activity that requires daily effort; not massive time, just 15 – 30 minutes each day.

Conclusion

If you are not looking for opportunities; if you do not want personal growth; if you are not interested in being a thought influencer; then by all means keep your network small. On the hand if you do want these things and you are not good at networking; it is time for change.
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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.

Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.

Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.

If You Want More Recommendations; then Give More Recommendations


Get More Recommendations

Have you ever seen a business use the message “The best compliment we can receive is your recommendation or referral?”

Although that is a very true statement; it is also true that the statement is not very effective in getting you more recommendations. Yes, it is a call to action; but it is a very weak call to action.

Marketing studies have long shown that a satisfied customer tells one or two people. Today, with Social Media, those numbers be drastically improved; all you need to do is get the recommendations.

So, how does that happen?

It starts with you; with your being proactive and reaching out to others.

The Key to Getting Anything; Is, to Give Something

If you have not noticed the old mantra of “Ask and you will receive” has changed; today the new mantra is “Give and you will receive”! What this means is that if you want recommendations; you are best served by giving a recommendation first!

The UPPROACH: Give a Recommendation First

Don’t wait for something to happen; make something happen! Take the initiative and write a recommendation for that person.

Get a Recommendation

Once you write the recommendation; it is much easier to ask for and get a recommendation. When you give something of value; people want to reciprocate. People do not like to be indebted to someone; therefore they look for a way to pay you back. When they can do it in kind; all the better.

So get started and start writing those recommendations and reaping the results!

Are you at a loss as to how to write a recommendation get our free report The Art of Giving a Recommendation.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on structuring Social Media and Professional Networking to help businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence to increase efficiency, improve decisions, and respond to your audiences. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

If you are interested in learning more about how Tom can you and/or your organization develop your Professional Network or Social Media email Tom for information.

Referrals and Recommendations: Are You Getting Your Share?


Referrals and Recommendations Are Critical to Your Business and Career

Are you getting your fair share of referrals and recommendations? One of the great features of Social Media is the opportunity to collect referrals and recommendations from managers, supervisors, co-workers, vendors, customers, and a host of others.

We can talk forever about our personal accomplishments and experiences, but when you get someone talking on your behalf that is when you start firing on all cylinders. That doesn’t mean that you get thousands or even hundreds of referrals and recommendations, it just means that you get your fair share.

Referrals Can Be Key to Attaining Your Objectives

I believe that although one can do it on their own; referrals and recommendations are key to accelerating your business and career. Modesty and humility are characteristic of most people. While there are many exceptions; when you think of the majority of connections that you have; they are modest and humble about their accomplishments.

What does that mean to you? If you have the characteristics of modesty and being humble; you will not be very effective at self promotion. You will always be reserved in discussing your accomplishments, awards, and recognition; this means that you WILL need someone that will promote you and this is best achieved through referrals and recommendations.

Here are some examples of what referrals and recommendations can do for you:

  • Open doors that were otherwise closed.
  • Tell people what you meant to former co-workers, educators, and even friends.
  • Substantiate and reinforce statements that you make about yourself.
  • Lead to undiscovered opportunities.

If you are not receiving your fair share of referrals and recommendations learn where you get them; get our free report 18 Sources for Referrals and Recommendations.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on structuring Social Media and Professional Networking to help businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence to increase efficiency, improve decisions, and respond to your audiences. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

If you are interested in learning more about how Tom can you and/or your organization develop your Professional Network or Social Media email Tom for information.

Putting Power into Your Reviews and Testimonials


Negating the Negatives

Negative Internet Reviews

If you are like many businesses today you have experienced the negative review on Google, CitySearch, Yelp, or a plethora of other sites. In the process you have most likely noticed that these reviews hide behind an alias. The reality is that they, the reviewers, are cowards or even worse competitors.

To top it off Google, CitySearch, and the others make it difficult and costly to respond. This may be a good thing, because your immediate response would be a “knee-jerk” reaction and probably end up hurting your more than helping. You must remember that you are in the age of the Internet and the person who wrote the review will NOT be the only one reading your response. In your attempt to respond you may end up hurting future business from the eves droppers.

What Do You Do

One of the best ways to counteract a negative review is to get a good review; but not just any good review. Get one where the individual writing the review is willing to give their name and their city and state. You want credibility behind the review!

Get Credible Reviews

When you have credible reviews and someone points to Google, CitySearch, or whomever and it is a review that hides behind an alias; you can point to your reviews (good, just okay, or even bad) and say that YOUR reviews have quality. You can say that these are people you can talk to and they will answer your questions honestly. These are people that have nothing to hide.

You can, with the writer’s permission, use these reviews in your marketing and sales materials as testimonials of the work that you do and they way your customers/clients/patients feel about you, your business, your products, and your services.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Social Media/Social Networking topics helping businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.