How to Network Your Way to the Top

I’m often asked to speak to college students about career development and success. One of the main topics of discussion is networking. I tell the students networking is the number one factor that will determine their career success. Because it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you, right?

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In Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, Little Black Book of Connections, he provides incredible insights into the art and skill of making connections. Connecting is all about your friendliness, your ability to engage, and your willingness to give value first. The secret, Gitomer says, is to allow the other person to benefit first.

 
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So without further delay, here are the
17 strategies, guidelines, and rules of connecting.

1. Be friendly first, and everything else falls into place.

2. Protect your self-image in a way that breeds confidence in others.

3. Your ability to look someone in the eye as you speak to them is a tell-tale sign of your own self-respect.

4. Your consistent positive attitude will breed positive responses and positive results.

5. No connection is made without some form of risk.

6. 90% of success is showing up prepared.

7. The less you focus on your motive to meet, the more likely it is that your connection will be successful.

8. Take a genuine interest in other people before you them to take a genuine interest in you. Ask good questions!

9. The sooner you can find something in common with the other person, the sooner all the barriers will disappear.

10. The higher up the ladder you go, the more cautious people will be of your advances.

11. Your projected image will often determine your ability to make a real connection.

12. People judge you by every action you take.

13. Provide value.

14. Transfer your message with excellent communication skills.

15. Staying in touch is more important and more valuable than making an initial connection.

16. Since you don’t know what day a powerful connection will be made, you must be ready every day.

17. Your present reputation determines your future fate.

 

All of these networking practices are really simple,
but they aren’t easy. So here is some closing advice.

Talk real. Act real. Be real.

Being you is more than enough. And when you’re comfortable being you, you’ll find others will do the same in return.