Do You Value Your Network?


Is your network important to you? Do you provide regular value to your connections?

Is it proper to even call them connections?

For most the answer is “No!”

The Problem with Networking

The problem is that people, maybe people like you, just sit back and do nothing with their network. Sure, they may add a new name every now and then and some people add names regularly, but, sadly to say, that is the extent of their effort.

A Network Is Not Something We Think of Only in a Time of Need

Here’s what I see as the problem. Most people are not proactive or even active networkers. They are simply name gatherers. They look at the process as a way to keep track of people in the event they, the individual, need something.

Is Your Network Collecting Dust?

Their network is essentially something set aside that is collecting dust. Periodically they will pull it out, blow off some of the dust, add a name or two, and then put it back into the corner.

A Valuable Asset Waiting for You to Take Action

Your network can be one of your most valuable assets; if you would allow it to take that role. Your network can be a treasure trove of opportunities and good fortune and the better that you are at networking and the members of your network are at networking; the more value you both will receive.

Networking Riches

I’ve told this Story before, but I’m going to briefly tell it again. There once was a woman who joined LinkedIn because she wanted to build her business. Not only did she want to build the business; she absolutely wanted it to flourish.

Taking her interest and desire she joined one of the many LinkedIn groups and immediately started to get involved. She participated in discussions, asked and answered questions, and added value to the group in many ways.

In the Spring of 2010; British Petroleum (BP) came knocking. They had a problem and they thought this woman might be able to help. Basically BP knew they had many more problems than the oil spill.

This was an opportunity that came to her because of LinkedIn.

Now for some personal insight into this individual; she isn’t even particularly good with LinkedIn. I watch her profile and she has been stuck around the 360 mark in connections for close to one-year. How many other opportunities may exist that she is missing because she isn’t proactive?

Periodically I view the profile of my connections to see what they are doing and to see if they are providing any value to their network. Most of the time I am disappointed by what I see in recent activity.

Most of the time the activity is either not there or it is simply the adding of new connections. There are few posts or status updates. What does that say… OPPORTUNITY!!! Because there are few that are proactive… Opportunity is there for those that are willing to work at it; try it on for size and see if you can be a better networker.

Conclusion

As I said in my previous post “Your Network – Are You A Collector or a CONNECTOR?” from my observations it appears that over 97% and probably much closer to 99% of the people on LinkedIn do not add value to their network; it is up to you to make the difference!

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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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What Are Your 2011 Networking Goals?


It Is That Time of Year Again

We may reflect on the goals we set for 2010 and we are going to make our 2011 New Year’s resolutions for many aspects of our life. Another year has passed and it is time to ask not only whether you achieved your networking goals for 2010, but did you even have networking goals in 2010? Or were you like most people and just left the process to fate?

It's Time to Make Your Networking Resolution

I’m afraid that far too many left it to fate and fate did not shine kindly upon their efforts. Networking is a process that requires goals and a strategy. Without these two components your networking has no focus. Without a focus it is difficult to find a reason to network and most end up not networking or they end up connecting simply because they want something.

 

Networking Is More than Seeing Who Can Give You What

I recently wrote another article on networking and one of the responses that I received raised the issue that people only network with their own needs in mind. I think this is true, but not for the reason that others may believe. To me the issue is that we were never trained in the art of networking and therefore do not know what to do or how to network properly.

Networking is a give and take activity and it starts with the give portion. When you network it should be a win-win situation for both parties. If only one person is a winner; that is not networking. If you enter a networking situation with only your interests in mind; you will not be successful engaging the other person or at least not for the long-term.

Your 2011 Goals

For 2011 it is time to try something new: networking with a purpose. Having goals and a purpose as part of your networking allows you to monitor and measure your progress.

  1. What is your purpose for networking?
  2. What do you want to accomplish with your networking efforts?
  3. What is the value that you bring to the relationship?
  4. Who do you want in your network and why?
  5. How are you going to communicate with your network and what is the frequency of those communications?

For more ideas check out our free report to learn more about Networking with a Purpose.

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Tom Staskiewicz is a Social Media/Social Networking Coach helping businesses, organizations, and individuals to 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.

Does Networking Work?


Have you ever wondered if networking pays off?

Here is my latest experience. Approximately 8 weeks ago my contract was ended. I had been contracting at one company for the past 3 ½ years and it was only supposed to be a 1 year contract. That worked out well for me and I am happy that it lasted that long. I will get back to the end of the contract in a little bit.

Prior to this contract I had been looking for work for about 6 months. I had some things here and there that kept us going, but it was tough regardless. What is important, however, is what I did while I was with this company.

Take Action

The first action, not under my control, was shortly after I started I was called to a regional employment role in my church. The second action was I started using LinkedIn. The third actions was the more I learned the more I wanted to learn on how it could help me with my search.

Learn to Network

By learning how to network and allowing my network to get to know me I made many great contacts. I didn’t know everyone in my network at first and in many cases I am still getting to know them; but I will keep working on this.

Make Lots of Connections

About 1 1/2 years after getting into LinkedIn I started on Facebook. I had watched my teenagers use MySpace and then Facebook and thought they were wasting their time. I was wrong! At least with the idea that Facebook offered nothing for me. I started connecting with all kinds of people and it has been great.

I now have over 850 connections on LinkedIn connecting me to over 8 MILLION people and I have over 650 connections on Facebook. Some of the LinkedIn and Facebook connections are duplicated, but most are not.

After the Contract Ended

Anyway back to having the contract end… I contacted my and other recruiting companies to see what might be available. It wasn’t long and I had a couple of opportunities presented. One ended up panning out and I started the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Emailed Over 170 Contacts

The other thing that I did, however, was send an email to about 170 of my email contacts. That process generated over a dozen responses with possible opportunities. Where I went wrong was not sending that email out earlier in the process.

Let People in Your Network Know Who You Are and What You Can Do

When people in your network know you, know what you can do, and know what you want to do; they are there to help. My email went out a couple of weeks ago and I am still being contacted by members of my network to see what they can do to help. The truth is that I still have well over one thousand people that I could contact; a majority of whom I did not know three years ago.

I connect with new people all the time; it is my goal to be adding 5 – 10 new connections either on LinkedIn of Facebook every week. Sometimes it is as many as 20 per week and this is what YOU must be doing as well.

Networking works when you give it a chance.

STOP! Before You Take a Step Forward on Your Social Marketing – Read This!


Social Media Marketing Reality

First, do not get me wrong; I am a proponent of Social Media Marketing and I encourage the behavior. The problem is that it is being sold to you incorrectly. Social Networking Consultants, Specialists, Experts, or whatever you want to call them are not telling you the truth!

Social Media Marketing Is Not a Rainmaker Proposition

Social Media Marketing has the potential to drive business, and, yes, even massive business through your doors. The caveat is that it takes work; lots of work. It takes commitment; lots of commitment. It takes time; lots of time.

There is no getting around it; Social Media Marketing is not for the faint of heart.

Case in Point

Earlier this year I was talking to a friend about Social Media Marketing and the opportunities that it offers a business. While I am firmly committed to that statement; I have since come to realize that most business owners do not have the level of commitment necessary to make it successful.

This friend changed the website; it was not necessarily for the better. In fact, the old site, to me, was far more aesthetically pleasing. The content from the old page to the new page is not significantly different, but they can say things have changed.

As part of the new look they created a blog. Blogs are great but again they require commitment and dedication. This is not a stop-start proposition; this is a commitment and your audience is expecting regular postings. This friend created three or four articles over the span of four or five days in February and has done nothing since.

The truth is they should pull down the blog. This minimal effort gives the impression that there is no follow through within the organization and does not help them and, in fact, does more damage. It is like jumping into the deep part of the lake and making a big splash and then not coming back to the surface because you were not prepared and had not made the prior commitment to learn how to swim.

Social Media Marketing Requires Commitment

It is not that these owners are not committed to their business; it is the commitment to Social Media Marketing that is lacking. Not surprisingly business owners have many other day-to-day tasks that occupy their time and it is hard to think about Social Media Marketing when your biggest customer is getting ready to bail on you or your top salesperson is considering a new opportunity.

Obviously those situations loom larger and their immediate impact on the business is far more important and the effect is far more quickly realized and felt. The truth is that most business owners and managers do not have the time available to put into Social Media Marketing.

Before You Jump In; Ask Yourself If You Are Ready to Follow Through

Do not just stick your toe into the water to determine the temperature. This is a situation where you make the commitment, jump in, and stay there for the long-haul.

Next Time I Will Talk About Trying To Do Too Much

Social Media Consultants talk about using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Mashable, Websites, Blogs, Digg, Del-i-cious, YouTube, and others. The truth is that it takes an entire department or staff to monitor all of those sites and a tremendous commitment. Trying to do too much; too fast will leave you frustrated and unsatisfied. Do not do it!

Should I Add People to My Network That I Do Not Know?


I Think People That Limit Their Networks to Only Those They Know Are Making a Huge Mistake

Did you know that statistics show that out of every 100 connections; only 2 or 3 will ever play an important role for you? The question is which 2 or 3 per 100 are the important connections and are you willing to take the chance?

So Why Would You Only Network with Those You Know?

There are many so called networkers that will only connect with people they know. If someone wants to network with one of these people and it is someone that they do not know, the offer to become a Facebook Friend or LinkedIn Connection is rejected. There is no real reason, other than the individual is an unknown.

Interestingly, virtually everyone we know was an “unknown” at one time or another. The exceptions are family members and if we go back far enough, even they were an unknown.

Surprisingly Even LinkedIn Subscribes To This Philosophy

Even LinkedIn encourages this behavior with the “I Don’t Know” or IDK option as it is commonly known. Why would LinkedIn do this? Although I do not know for sure, I do have a hypothesis.

From a LinkedIn perspective, I believe, it is simply to get you to spend money with them. My reasoning here is that if you spend money with a premium membership you have access to In-Mails, which are used to connect with someone that you do not know; only you now have LinkedIn’s blessing in exchange for your money.

According to Webster’s Dictionary networking is: 1 : the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.

As I read Webster’s definition I do not see anything that limits your network simply to those you know. In fact it says the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.

Why Should I Network with People that I Do Not Know?

My answer to this question is an unequivocal YES! I believe in adding anyone until they give you valid reasons for rejecting them. I do not consider the fact that I do not know them to be a valid reason.

Adding people that you do not know to your network expands your sphere of influence and increases your power to develop better answers and solutions to your questions.

Do All Your Opportunities Exist Within Your Current Communities?

If you are in business the question is: Do all of your future customers exist within your current communities or among the people you currently know? Obviously the answer is no. So the next question is if you are not willing to add people that you do not know to your network; how will you reach your new customers? How are you going to make the necessary connections?

Another question is how do you convert a non-customer to being a customer? Most businesses do it through communications. If that is the case, doesn’t it make sense to have these prospects in your network to make the communication process easier?

Are You Prepared for the UNTHINKABLE!


Many people thought and many people still think unemployment could never happen to them

We Are Living in the Age of the UNTHINKABLE

Working with the unemployed I see a lot of people dealing with the UNTHINKABLE! For whatever reason – lay off, plant closing, staff reductions, off shore sourcing, obsolete jobs, etc. – they no longer have a job.

Not only do they not have a job, they have not had a job for an extended period of time. They are dealing with the UNTHINKABLE.

Who ever thought we would be in an economy like the one existing today? For sure none of the supposed economic “experts”.

For sure there are people who say they saw the demise of the banking system or the trading houses; I am not so sure how much stock I put in their statements, but it is what some, at least, are saying. Even Alan Greenspan did not see this coming and admits not only did he not see it coming, it never even registered in his thoughts or planning.

Where Are You in Your UNTHINKABLE Thinking

Now we are fully in the Age of the UNTHINKABLE; where are you in your thinking and planning? Are you doing anything to prepare you if the UNTHINKABLE were to happen to you?

If you are like most people, your answer is NO. As a whole, we do not like to think about the UNTHINKABLE. It is easier to ignore and believe the UNTHINKABLE only happens to the other guy or the other family. It may get close, but it will never reach you.

This is ostrich thinking and no one can afford to have their head in the sand. Everyone is susceptible to the UNTHINKABLE. Everyone needs to have a plan as to how they would cope if the UNTHINKABLE were to happen to them.

How to Plan for the UNTHINKABLE

The first thing that must be done is to take your head out of the sand and look around. You must look for signs of the UNTHINKABLE coming in your direction. You must be:

      Open to things you do not want to hear.
      Open to things you do not want to see.
      Looking for things you do not want to hear or see.
      Preparing for changes you may not want.
      Looking for signs of change.

This all may sound ominous to you, but the reality is; if you are prepared you will have a plan. You may still be caught off guard, but by taking these steps you will be in a better position.

I will be examining these issues and what you can do to prepare yourself and your family in the event the UNTHINKABLE strikes closer to home.

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve! Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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