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The power of networking

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I am a big fan of networking.  I know that even the thought of it makes some people cringe

or break out into a sweat but most of my business comes from networking. My rule is that

you should network in person duringthe business day and do it online after hours. People

do business with people they know, like and trust so you have to get out there to build

your reputation online and off. Prospective customers and jobs can come from anyone

anywhere anytime so you should always be on your best behavior and make a great lasting

impression. Be nice to everyone and make friends before you need them, you never know

who is in or will be in a position to help!  Here are a few tips to consider:

DO:

*  Give before you get

*  Stop selling and start listening

*  Find a buddy to go to networking events with so you can work the room together, it

makes it much more comfortable and fun

*  Bring plenty of business cards

*  Send followup notes to best prospects after the event

DON̵’T:

*  Monopolize people’s time or let them do it to you, chat briefly and exchange info so you

can follow up after

*  Overshare, let them do most of the talking

*  Get into political discussions with people you do not know

Networking is really about making connections.  If you are lucky you might even make a

new friend in the process.  In all relationships there is a give and a take.  When you make

a new contact you share your time and expertise with them to get to know each other.

As part of the information sharing you may then put that person in contact with someone

else who they might benefit from knowing.  In this way the pie gets bigger for

everyone and the virtuous circle begins to grow.  Therein lies the power of networking and

generosity!  When you help people you will find that there will be more help available for

you too.  It is not a zero sum game or about keeping score.  When you meet people who

may be great new connections and you bring that spirit of generosity with you, you will

begin to find that the more valuable connections you make, the more opportunities will

come your way.  At least for me, I have found that the more you give the more you get

back in return.

 

I believe you can make your luck and that the harder you work the luckier you get but

knowing more people is also a way to bring luck into your life because I think luck depends

on other people too so the more people you know the luckier you will be.  Luck can come

from unexpected people and places, it is called the strength of weak ties.  Ironically it is not

the friends and family who know you best but the weaker ties you see less often who

usually have the biggest impact in your luck because they know people in different

circles than the usual suspects you spend the most time with already.  Having different

social networks that do not overlap works in your favor, you are reaching new groups of

peopleand new communities full of possibilities by branching out through networking.

 

When you are clear on what you are looking for personally and professionally I find the

world conspires to help you find it.  Call it serendipity, luck, networking or whatever

you want but when you open yourself to possibilities the chance for success multiplies.

Soget out of the office, off the couch, away from your computer and start networking

today!  Sometimes it is easier when you think of yourself as a brand.  In my experience

here are some ways to build a strong brand:

Be original. What makes you unique or special?

Be creative. How do you want people to think & feel after interacting with you versus

your competition?

Be honest. Let your brand be known for speaking the truth, and you become the

trusted advocate and go-to source.

Be relevant. Brands aren’t created in a vacuum.

Be consistent. Develop a cohesive message, and live it every day.

Be passionate. Everyone loves to work with people who are passionate about what

they do; it makes life much more fun and interesting.

Everything communicates, not just your company name, brochure or logo but your

business cards, stationery, e-mail signature, invoices, how you present yourself, how

quickly you respond to messages, everything. It is a deliberate and holistic process.

Names contribute to your brand and in our case I think it has been a major plus. Maven

is Yiddish for expert and a Mogul is someone of rank, power or distinction in a specified

area. I like the alliteration and I think it sets us apart from other firms. It shows a little

personality and attitude and implies we do not take ourselves too seriously. Would you

rather hire “Strategic Marketing Solutions” or Mavens & Moguls? We are the “not your

father’s Oldsmobile” of marketing firms. If nothing else our name is a great conversation

starter and getting into a conversation is all it takes to open a door.

 

Being competent and talented is the price of entry but it is not always enough, your

personal networks can often make the difference.  We bring each other luck through the

give and take and the bigger your network the more opportunities for luck to occur so

what are you waiting for?  What can you do to grow your network today?

About Paige Arnof-Fenn

Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of global marketing and branding firm Mavens-&-Moguls based in Cambridge, MA. Our clients include Microsoft, Virgin, venture-backed startups as well as non profit organizations. I graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. I am a popular speaker and columnist who has written for Entrepreneur and Forbes.

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