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5 Critical Questions to Answer to Assess Your Networking Skills

People often describe themselves as master networkers. They attend gobs of events, pass out thousands of business cards and flit from group to group, doing everything they can to get people to buy from them. They spit out their elevator speech (quite frankly, I can’t stand an elevator pitch…I can smell one a mile away), often get confused in the delivering that boring speech, talk about themselves on and on and never stop to ask the other person “Tell me about you, and how can I help you succeed?”You see, I believe asking this question is the key to success with networking.

People often describe themselves as master networkers. They attend gobs of events, pass out thousands of business cards and flit from group to group, doing everything they can to get people to buy from them. They spit out their elevator speech (quite frankly, I can’t stand an elevator pitch…I can smell one a mile away), often get confused in the delivering that boring speech, talk about themselves on and on and never stop to ask the other person “Tell me about you, and how can I help you succeed?”You see, I believe asking this question is the key to success with networking.

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Ivan Misner, Founder of BNI, firmly states that the “Givers Gain” philosophy is what networking is all about, and at the end of the day, we can give…yet…we can only give so much before we get drained. So, in theory it sounds great to have thousands of networking partners. In reality, I have found that a human being can only hold about 5-7 key networking partners in their brains at one time. So, if you are trying to truly network (the operative word is truly) with thousands of people, you are bound to lose connection with someone along the way. As a matter of fact, if you are trying to truly network with thousands of people, there are probably many who you will simply forget about over time.

Over the last ten years, I have done a great deal of networking. I
don’t even want to add up the hours I have invested with this process.
But, at the end of the day, networking is fun for me. I enjoy both
online and face to face networking, but here’s my catch…I have to
really enjoy the other person, respect their work and believe in them
enough to tell others about them. I simply don’t get into networking
relationships with people who I don’t like or don’t respect. Some
people say I am just way to picky, and that is only one perspective.
The people who know me quite well say that I am being authentic in
building my network, and I would like to think that is true. You see, I
believe that it’s frankly abusive to get into a networking relationship
with someone you don’t respect enough to endorse their work, or to get
into a networking relationship with someone just because you want them
to give you a handout. And…if you are in one of those relationships, it
is probably because you “hope” that this person in some way is going to
help you along the way…and…it just doesn’t work that way. If you are
going to be masterful with networking, you have to begin by helping the
other person (trust me…most people won’t stop to ask you “How can I
help you?” It’s up to you to play that card first!)

If you are starting your networking process, OR if you have come to
the place in life where you know it’s time to perform a network
upgrade, I encourage you to answer these questions in determining who
you are going to bring into your close inner circle.

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1) What qualities do you most admire in other professionals? Make
a list of the ten qualities you most admire, and look for these
qualities as you are networking. (I would place honesty, integrity and
respect at the top of your list…otherwise, you may attract dishonest,
disrespectful people who are not on the up and up!)

2) How can you help other people? Understanding
your value and how you can help others is a requirement for successful
networking. You may be able to bring a large group of people, fresh
ideas or your talent and skills to the relationship. The bottom line is
to get clear on your value and how it can make others’ lives more
successful so that you can speak this with certainty.

3) How can other people help you? It is critical to
understand that a networking relationship is about giving first and
then receiving. Don’t ever get yourself into a networking relationship
where you are the only person giving back to the relationship.
Resentment will build over time if you are getting nothing back in
return. Remember…your networking relationships should be
partnerships…50/50 give and take…not a situation where you are doing
all the work and getting nothing back in return. On the same note, I am
big on helping other people out one time without any expectation of
getting something back. If the relationship evolves to the point where
you can get into an ongoing cycle of giving and receiving, then
fabulous! Just know that you are probably going to do a few favors for
folks who never do anything in return, and that’s okay…it’s part of the
process.

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4) How can your networking partners help each other?
It is important to understand that once you build out a group of 5-7
key networking partners, they will be getting to know each other and
helping each other out. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to
become the “connector” to a larger network of like-minded individuals
(the connecting thread is YOU!)

5) What are the red flags you want to avoid? I am
sure you already know the answer to this one. You are going to meet
people along the way who are needy, who want a hand out or who are only
into networking as a way to take advantage of your value or to ask you
to buy from them. Know the red flags ahead of time, and steer clear
from those people. I believe that just like there is a man for every
woman and a woman for every man, there are networking partners who were
born for each other…they all are not designed just for you, so raise
your bar on who you want to attract, then…go out and get ‘em, and have
fun along the journey!

http://Edge-Book.com

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