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Intentional Networking: Nine Effective and Efficient Steps to Success
Thursday, November 14, 2013 6:25 AM

Ever wonder why some people are so powerfully connected, are the first to hear about great opportunities, and earn more quality referrals? The answer may surprise you. To attract more success in business, you don’t have to network more; you just have to network more intentionally. This means becoming more focused, engaging, trusted, and memorable. And not necessarily with more people, but with “your people”—meaning the people who naturally bring the most value into your world.

Award-winning author Patti DeNucci and motivational speaker Ed Rigsbee, CAE, CSP, share what they consider to be the nine effective and efficient steps to intentional networking success:

  1. Know yourself. This involves knowing your strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, passions, preferences, and traits.
  2. Know what you want. If you are vague, ambivalent, scattered, or unsure of your vision, intention, and goals, then you are likely drifting along, preserving the status quo, and possibly even invisible to others.
  3. Show up in alignment with the above two points. Everything about you, from your attitude and appearance to your correspondence and conversation, gives off messages. If your image doesn’t line up with whom you say you are and what you aspire to, then confusion, disengagement, and distrust can result.
  4. Focus on quality, not quantity. Rather than adding more new people to your network, invest some time identifying your most valuable connections; the ones who not only bring you referrals and opportunities, but also provide you with valuable insights, information, and support.
  5. Say no with grace. Once you identify your top contacts and networking activities, you’ll start to see who and what no longer serves you. It will be easier to prioritize, which is crucial to your networking efficiency and success.
  6. Focus on your best connections. Stay in touch with your best connections. This means reaching out and staying top-of-mind on a regular basis. Attend a few targeted business or association events each month. The key is doing these things regularly and consistently.
  7. Stand out in the crowd. Live your brand and allow it to guide how you show up and conduct yourself.
  8. Give first. This isn’t about giving away your expertise or time randomly. It’s about offering a positive attitude and a willingness to listen and offer ideas to those you meet.
  9. Reap your reward. Consistently practice steps 1 through 8 and you’ll be on your way to making more powerful connections, earning more likability and trust, and attracting more referrals.