Written by Peter Fisher, JobsArticle.com
Networking is one of the most important business and career development skills anyone can learn. Yet, even to a seasoned professional it can seem intimidating or positively scary some of the time.
I am sure that you will agree that the term "networking" is one of the most clichéd and misunderstood words in our vocabulary; the dictionary defines networking as "the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions." Strangely it doesn't define the rationale of networking.
If we view networking as the process of developing and maintaining quality relationships that are mutually advantageous, it won't take long to realize that networking is an important business and career development process. The continual building of relationships that can last a lifetime is what makes networking an essential part of our own development. This is why we do need to learn networking skills and keep our contacts in touch with us regularly.
Because, when we lose touch with someone, then call on them when we are in need, we create a negative networking situation and your contact no longer want s to talk to you. The person at the receiving end perceives the call as "he can't be bothered to keep in touch, till he wants something"
So, positive networking needs to become a way of life. As the old saying goes "It's not what you know but who you know." This is truer than ever in today's competitive world.
However, networking is not something that comes easily to everyone. You may be essentially a shy person, possibly feel you don't have the wherewithal, or as most of us are today, just plain busy. More than likely, you may feel you simply don't have the time to network. This is just an excuse!
Whenever you meet someone new, you have the opportunity to network and learn new things thus enriching your own existence. The truth then is: we really don't have time NOT to network.
Networking can be done any place, any time. As you learn about the other person you are networking with and how you can help them, they learn about you and how they can help you. This reciprocal effect is a direct result of you becoming interesting because you are showing interest. Help others connect to the people you know can help them, keep your promises and stay in touch.
You will frequently have opportunities to meet new people whom you can add to your list of contacts. Once you have established a connection, identify the people who can help you, stay connected, and keep your network growing. Identify the organizations and activities where people you want to know gather, get involved and become known.
Networking does not have to be difficult; in fact it can be quite fun, but bear in mind that you will need to continually work at it. Then, before you know it, you will have a strong network behind you whenever you need to call upon it.
And you will need to call on it sometime.
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