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The Right Way To Use Your Social Network Purposefully

published March 04, 2013

By Author - LawCrossing
Published By
( 2 votes, average: 4.5 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.
Your determination to have a network has worked. You have got a network in place. What are you going to do with it? Do you know how to use it purposefully and that you can milk it to its utmost potential and advantage. It is seen that whilst people, with the initial drive and passion to develop networks manage to do so they are not very tactical when it comes to the best way to take benefit of the massive potential that it carries. Well then, how does one go about it?

The real answer is that networking isn't just about meeting people. It's about gathering information, locating sources, attracting support, getting help for projects, making sales, tapping sources of influence, finding jobs, seeking advice, gaining exposure... the list goes on and on.

For each of the objectives of networking there are different ways and different tools to reach your goals. Meeting people is just one technique to use to make personal contacts.

Networking For Information

Sourcing information from networks is a great way of finding out things that would otherwise remain unknown to you. A man purchasing a candy company in Tennessee was caught in two minds as he was unsure about a few things and the documents and literature that he had were rather vague on the subject. He remembered that an old acquaintance of his, through his association with the Rotary Club, had also sought to buy a candy company here. He called him up and his friend was able to provide him with a lot of helpful information, which helped him make an informed decision.

Networking Directories

A summer interns, Susan Tomkin, from Penn State University, put together a networking directory for her fellow College of Business Administration students. Her preface to the directory had this to say about networking for information: "Everyone that you come in contact with is a potential source of useful information. In turn, you are also a source of information to everyone you meet." She then went on to explain why the networking directory would be valuable and gave ten ways it could be used.

Most organizations publish member directories although they don't necessarily call them networking directories. Susan's directory went beyond just listing names, addresses and phone numbers. She included sports interests, hobbies, other extracurricular activities, work experiences, internships and career goals and objectives.

Developing Suppliers

Finding sources of supply for both products and services is one of the most common uses for networkers. Where can I get my car fixed? Who can resurface my driveway? Who can I rely upon to supply the flowers for my daughter's wedding? You want the best service at a reasonable price. Someone you can trust to do a good job...on time. Turn to your network. Ask a few of your networking friends about who they have used for similar jobs and in similar situations. Using networking there will be far more winners than losers and most of the time you'll find just the right supplier.

Networking And Selling

Salespeople are among the largest and most active group of networkers. If there is one word that describes the difference between a peddler and professional salesperson, it's networking.

We see peddlers as people who make a lot of cold calls, who rely on averages - if you make enough calls you'll sell something. The networker, on the other hand, works to get appointments, gathers information about the company and the buyer and may even get an advocate to intercede.

The networking salesperson has an organized business card cataloging system. His network catalogue is bulging with entries. Their computers are brimming with names, addresses, phone numbers fax numbers, key contacts and other important information. There's probably a fax handy and most certainly a cellular phone. The networking salesperson uses all of the tools available to gain that extra edge and extra sale. Selling is perhaps the one of the primary uses for networking, and networking is the prime resource of selling.

Job Hunting

Many a time when you go for your job interview, the interviewer will surprise you with a questioned you are least prepared for - "Who do you know in the industry?" Many people are hired specifically for who and how many people they know in their particular field or industry - for the size of their business network. Hence, the bigger your network, the better it will be, when it comes to job hunting.

Remember not all information is documented. What the employees can tell you about the boss, no amount of written research will reveal. The employees are privy to intricate details and networking with them will reveal vital details that will help you decide whether the company is really where you want to work.

Attracting Support

Most of us, at one time or another, have had a cause which needed outside support to be successful. It could be a project at work, a charitable endeavor, or a political position. This is where you reach out to the advocates in your net work. They know you; they trust you and they are most likely to support both you and your cause.

Seeking Advice

This is an aspect of networking that many people overlook. We all need advice on occasion, and our network is the first place to start. We can turn to our family and also go outside. Here again is a situation where you'll probably rely on advocates in your network who will be both honest and unbiased. Advice is needed on all levels. For example, young company presidents are a lonely lot. They need advice but often don't have someone they can trust or rely on for unbiased help.

Always remember that some of the most important information can come from the most, seemingly insignificant sources. Never underestimate the intelligence of a person - the lowly worker can provide you with a crucial piece of data that may not be available from the senior most persons in networking circle - so stay in touch and explore every available option.

published March 04, 2013

By Author - LawCrossing
( 2 votes, average: 4.5 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.