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How To Widen Your Circle OF Friends Through Networking

published March 04, 2013

By Author - LawCrossing
Published By
( 24 votes, average: 4.1 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Everybody likes to have a wide circle of friends and most feel that they know many people who could be classified as friends. But how many people do you really know?

Let's try a fun exercise. Consider how many people you know. Start with your personal cell phone and address book. Next add in the names from your business phone address system. Now you have the beginnings of your list.

Have you overlooked anybody? How about the people you meet every Sabbath or during the Divine service in your church - the people there that you've known for years, but who don't appear in your own telephone or address book. And your country club membership roster. What about the former students from your school and college days and those who make up the alumni association from college and high school. How about names of people you know well from the rosters of your trade or professional associations, charitable groups, civic and service clubs? Wow! That's a formidable list and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Notice that we still haven't added the names of the people with whom we come in contact on a daily basis whose names are not included in any of the sources we mentioned. There's, the manager of our favorite restaurant. You've eaten there for years but his name is not to be found on any of your lists. What about the shoemaker? We usually don't have a frequent need to call him, so his name is not on our lists. Then there are new neighbors. How about old neighbors you've never had a chance to meet?

Have you now noticed that you are part of a vast, rich, ever-expanding network? You're not starting from scratch. Now you have your own personal extensive "yellow pages." Within them, you can probably find every resource you'll ever need.

When you start making a list of all the people you know, you will be surprised to know that you know quite a few, much more than you had imagined and that if you start networking with and through them, it will become an ever expanding number.

Don't try to do it all at once. Like any good system, it pays to start out slowly. If you join the local Chamber of Commerce, two new associations, and a health club with the intention of really networking, it isn't going to work. Networking has to become a life style, and life styles are built slowly.

Disciplined Acquaintanceship

Some of these people we know better than others, but for all of them, there is at least an acquaintance relationship. The first discipline of networking is to organize the names of these acquaintances and determine their importance to our network - to identify those who will be most helpful in a given situation.

Your databank (list of names along with pertinent information) can be divided into four main categories: 1) Family members, 2) Personal friends, 3) Social acquaintances and 4) Business or professional contacts.

Let's look at each group, one at a time, and start to weave our new network.

Family Members

How big is your family? If you say four or five, you are way off the mark. Do you tend to think of your family in terms of the immediate members: mother and dad, husband, wife, brothers and sisters, children? With networking we must consider the family group as the whole family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and the whole family of in-laws on both sides.

These are the people that know you best, and hopefully, love you most. They're the natural place to start. If there is love lacking, networking may put the spark back into the relationships.

In her wonderful book The Aquarian Conspiracy, Marilyn Ferguson quotes from a Quaker newsletter: "We will recognize that each person needs to nourish and be nourished by many persons, and we will not seek to restrict them through fear. We will know that we can only keep that which we set free...."We recognize ourselves as members of the family of human beings. It is right, even necessary, to make yourselves available to one another in new loving, caring, and fulfilling ways - without the specters of old guilt's at loving widely."

What can family members do for you? They are the first knots in your net. They should be able to share your most intimate problems. They should also be counted on to provide support and praise. The family can lend more than support from their love, time, expertise, advice and money, to the proverbial borrowed lawn mower, depending on the closeness of the relative.

What can you do for your family? Follow the Golden Rule. Do for your whole family what you expect them to do for you. Remember that you are a knot in your own network and that like a net woven of cord, its strength is only that of the weakest knot.

There is still more you can do. As a networker you assume a more positive role and reach out to make sure all of your relatives are indeed knots in your net. This means a disciplined effort to maintain regular contacts. The contacts may take the form of visits, phone calls or letters.

In our ultra busy, two-job, shopping mall, fast food lifestyle, relatives - particularly older relatives - are often forgotten. Surely the mobile phone companies have tried to get you to "reach out and touch someone" and for many people, if you took away advertising mail and bills, there wouldn't be much left in their mailboxes.

Start your network with your family. Begin with your greeting card list and then expand. Write down important dates for birthday's and wedding anniversaries. Jot down phone numbers, addresses and other profile information that will help stay in touch.

Finally, as a disciplined networker, make a special effort to call or visit relatives whenever possible and practical. Recently we learned of a couple who went out of their way, on yearly vacation trips to Florida, to visit a distant cousin who lived alone. When she died, the attentive cousins were surprised to be the unexpected recipients of the lonely woman's modest estate. In her will she wrote, "These were the least of my relatives, but the most caring." The moral of the story is certainly not the financial gain, but rather the importance of attention, however minimal.

The next step is to enlarge your network through personal relationships.

Personal Friends

As we move down our list of people with whom we're regularly involved you'll notice a decrease in intimacy. We are most intimate with family. Personal friends will follow family on our list. Personal friends are special people from such varied groups as co-workers, business associates, professionals and organization members who you might consider close to you.

Again, a greeting card list, or personal telephone or address book is a good place to start developing your network of personal friends. Review the names you now have. Can you separate the intimate friends from the casual acquaintances? Who would be likely to come to your aid when you're in trouble?

Aside from developing your network of personal friends, this exercise may help you reevaluate your relationships with friends. Are there areas where you need to do some work, to put forth special efforts to enhance relationships? Remember, you have to weave a strong network before you use it. With personal friends - especially with personal friends -you have to be exceedingly careful not to just use the friendship but to be equally ready to commit to the friendship.

Networking is a two way street with each participant sharing. You have to be a friend as well as have a friend. Since your network of personal friends will also include people from other groups who are especially close to you, you will probably rely most often on this category of people. That's why it's so important to develop this list early and completely.

Social Acquaintances

Though not as close to you than personal friends, social acquaintances play an extremely important role in networking. You might have an acquaintance you see daily at work or someone who you haven't seen in years. Both can play key roles in the networking process at crucial times.

All of us probably, at some time, have had a special need and also had an acquaintance who could satisfy or help with that need. The trick is to be able to identify the acquaintance to be able to sometimes reach back, far back, into the past. This is where discipline plays such an important role in networking. To successfully use networking we must discipline ourselves to identify and record, to be able to pull up just the right name at just the right time to start our networking working.

Business Colleagues & Acquaintances

These are the people you work with on a daily basis but who are not necessarily personal friends: employees, coworkers, superiors, clients, patients, customers, suppliers, business neighbors, and yes, even competitors. This list may be the easiest to start because you've already had an existing need to maintain, in some form, a list of most of these people.

Your list and information on it is priceless and all the data that you will need for widening your circle of friends and acquaintances.

published March 04, 2013

By Author - LawCrossing
( 24 votes, average: 4.1 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.