The importance of networking within the organisation you work for

March 20, 2007

Last week I was asked to give a one-day training course to one of the largest IT-companies in the Netherlands.

The main focus was not on networking on business events organised by other parties, but on networking within the business unit and within the company.

The consultants of this business unit are the experts in their domains. Most of the times they are specialists in their area with many years of expertise. The disadvantage is that they don’t see each other that much. They also have the responsibility for their own budget, meaning that they have to sell themselves to customers or cooperate with the sales team to get assignments. A third issue is the recruitment of new people for the company in general and their business unit specifically.

During the day we worked on discovering how we could achieve all the goals by tapping into the power of their network:
1) to share more expertise and find the right expertise sooner
2) to build relationships with the customers they were working for at that moment and with their colleagues from the sales department so they were billable
3) to find the right people that could become new colleagues

How about you and your organisation? How aware are you about the power of your own network to achieve these three goals? How is your relationship with your customers and colleagues? Are you using your network as a lever to reach your goals? And more importantly: are you a lever for your network to reach their goals?

Have a great networking day !

Jan


A small world in Malibu

March 11, 2007

Two weeks ago I was in California. One of the reasons was to meet some people who could help me with the launch of my networking book “Let’s Connect!” in the USA. Another reason was to reconnect with other friends.

So I was very glad that my friend Marie Diamond (the Feng Shui master from the Secret, see also www.mariediamond.com) invited us to stay at her place in Malibu. It is always nice to spend the evening and night in someone’s home instead of a hotel. And especially if it is with someone who is inspiring as Marie.

One of the regrets I had when planning the trip is that I couldn’t spend time with Chris and Josephine Gross from Networking Times. I met them last year when I was in the LA area. They are not only interesting business partners (check out the website www.networkingtimes.com to see why), but also very warm and nice people.

Now, thanks to Marie’s good networking skills there was a nice surprise: Chris and Josephine were invited to have breakfast with us. We had a great time. Again a nice example of how small the world is. And I’m also very curious which seeds that were sown during this encounter will come into fruition.

To be continued 🙂

Jan


Some follow up tips

March 3, 2007

Many people ask me how they can follow up.

One thing to remember is that following up doesn’t start after your (first) contact, but in the conversation itself.
There you will discover for example what you have in common, how you can help each other and who you can connect each other to.

Here are some general tips:

– Send an interesting article (extra special if you do it by regular mail and include a handwritten note)
– Point out a helpful website
– Share more info or tips about a subject you talked about
– Send some of your non-marketing material (see the part about “Giving” on page 35)
– Write or talk about the common ground you found in your previous conversations
– Send the contact data of someone who could be useful (see also the next tip)
– Introduce this person to someone from your network
– Introduce someone from your network to this person
– Refer someone from your network to this person
– Refer this person to someone from your network
– Remind the person of a promise she made to you

I suggest you do two things:

1) make a general list of interesting resources that you can share with anyone.
2) go through this list before you go to an event. It will give you more confidence because you can offer something to other people.
You can ask the people you are talking to if you can help them in one or more of the ways mentioned here. You can also go through the list after the event to see how you can help the people you talked to without explicitly asking them.

Have a great networking day !

Jan

PS: you can find more follow up tips in my networking book “Let’s Connect!” (download your free light version at www.letsconnect.be)


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