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Networking: Why You Need To Network

Be Bold- Networking Without An Introduction

I am not going to try to set out here the technical processes of networking, because there are already plenty of books on the subject – written by those who specialise in networking – who have turned it into an art form. I am writing instead on the subject of why we must become efficient networkers.

Time was, when I started out in the working world nearly fifty years ago, a lot of people obsessed about the need to be introduced. This caused many problems.

While having doors opened for you by a heavy hitter could, on the face of it, bring advantages, more often than not, those advantages came with strings attached.

These often took the form of creating potentially unrealistic expectations of your performance, by the person to whom you were being introduced, through mis-selling of your offering by the introducer.

That process could, and often did, bring axe grinding opportunities for both the introducer and the contact he or she introduced you to. I cannot remember a single occasion where that method was outstandingly effective.

To me, much more interesting, is self introducing. The advantage of this process is that it avoids hidden agendas. But you need a great pitch.

Networking: Why You Need To Network

Once you have decided to use the unintroduced route, you will need to get braver, which is always a good thing.
You will begin to recognise, more and more, the power of your little black book, and how vital it is to build it. You will need to decide, in each case, how you want to get to the enablers who you feel could benefit your business.
I use LinkedIn a lot for this purpose. I send a message to the person I want to contact. Hopefully, I will have been able to get their mobile number first. I tell them in writing why I want to talk. I ask them for their help, and suggest what I might be able to do for them.
That puts me under a little pressure to be succinct in what I am going to say. And perhaps also puts a little bit on them to help me. And then I follow up on the phone. I find it much more powerful than trying to get things airborne on the back of an introduction, and the expectation that it brings with it.
Others may have different experiences, but that has been mine.
If you need some help speaking with others face to face, take a look at this video.

As ever,
Ed Wood