Do not get stuck in the “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” Trap.  Solid Networking skills are good to possess but they are only useful if you USE them.  Don’t just plan to network.  Reach out!  Networking takes personal self-discipline and dedication.  Every day, hundreds of thousands of people have hundreds of thousands of ideas, goals, and intentions – but they never take that first step.  

Hey, you’ve known networking is a good business practice for a while now.  So why have you not done more of it up to this point? 

One of the main reasons people don’t take the first step is they have little vision of the outcome they’re looking for through networking.  They’re not clear on why it’s worth the trouble of finding the events, getting dressed up, and making themselves stressed out and uncomfortable.

Increase your determination to make networking work for you by listing the reasons you haven’t done more in the past.  Getting to the bottom of your resistances will encourage you to blast through them – by just doing it.  And once you get on a roll, you won’t stop.  It could even become second nature to you.

Want a way to get really motivated to keep networking? 

You do?  OK. Try this: 

Create a Cracking the CODE Connection Map

Create a visual representation of your NET.   Make it just like a family tree, except have this one show how each of your new contacts leads to others. You can easily keep track of your progress.  And when you see how networking has helped, you’ll be more motivated to keep making new contacts and developing your network.

Work to move beyond your shyness and take full advantage of all the networking opportunities that come your way. 

Wait.  Strike that.  Do not just take advantage of the networking opportunities that come your way. PROACTIVELY MAKE OPPORTUNITIES to broaden your net.

Networking is one part social skills and one part sales skills, mixed with a couple shots of life skills.  Networking is as natural as breathing.  We all do it all the time.  Whenever you ask someone’s opinion to help you make an informed decision, even if it is just to find a good sushi bar or a DVD at Blockbuster, you are reaping the benefits of networking.  Gathering new contacts and opening avenues of opportunity increases the number of people in your network.

Get out more often.  Attend more general business events and industry functions.  If you don’t meet new people, your network will shrink, stagnate, and lose its strength. 

Yes, most of these events happen in the mornings, during lunches, and after hours.  Look, success is rarely created working 9 to 5.  What a way to make a livin’.  It is all takin’ and no givin’.    Thank you, Dolly Parton. 

Networking is not about chance meetings.  Hard work makes luck, my friend.  Go make some luck.  I know that sometimes a business luncheon may seem like a waste of time, especially if all you do is eat and make random chit chat.  But it will not feel like that when you learn how to effectively network at these events.  Even if your BlackBerry or ACT database system is bursting with names, numbers, and e-mail addresses, it will not do you a bit of good unless you build the relationships. 

Feel great about yourself.

Be optimistic.  Expect the best.

Get out and about.

Be confident.

Display a great attractive attitude.

(This just in: Your attitude counts for more than your knowledge.)   

Listen.  Be interested.

Give a hoot.

Be helpful.

Get involved.  

Stay in touch.

Sure, being in business is challenging. 

Sure, it’s nerve-racking to look for a new job.

Sure, sales can be tough to come by. 

Sure, marketing is a moving bull’s-eye. 

Sure, people are often pressed for time.

But here is something else I know for sure: People do business with, as well as help, share information, brainstorm, and give referrals to people they trust and value.  They trust and value people who genuinely care about them and are progress for their lives. 

Create personal curb appeal.

Open face-to-face relationships.

Deliver solid first impressions.

Earn trust.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker