Content provided by a guest contributor.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – in fact, I have no doubt that I will be saying it many times over, during the course of the remainder of my life – Networking is about relationships. It’s about, not only meeting new people and creating new relationships – it’s also about nurturing and maintaining current relationships.
That said, I do understand that not everyone is equally as good as I am at Networking. In fact, if the truth be told, not many people actually even like to Network. I have to be aware of that, because I need to make allowances for those who do not network or operate in the same way that I do.
It means that I also tend to gravitate towards those who do operate or Network in the same way that I do, people who will reciprocate, people who will “give to get”, people who not only want referrals from me, but also who want to send referrals to me. I tend to respond more quickly to requests from these individuals as I know that they respond more quickly to me.
I also know that the more help and assistance that I give, means the more help and assistance I will get. All I have to do is ask and the people in my Network automatically respond. How cool is that?
It’s all good and well to ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that you should expect everyone to drop whatever it is that they are doing to come to your rescue. That’s just rude!
If you need assistance with something, don’t leave your request to the last minute. By all means, ask for assistance, but let your Network have sufficient time to respond. So plan properly and ask early!
When you ask for assistance and you get it, don’t just leave everything there. Interact and communicate with your contact. Let them know how their information assisted you, what use you make of it and what the result is. Make them a part of what it is that you did.
Don’t, I repeat DO NOT, forget to say ‘thank you’! You cannot believe the number of people who contact me for information, who expect me to drop whatever it is that I am doing to give it to them at no cost and then who never say ‘thank you’, let alone show any other kind of gratitude.
Understand the next time around, I am really not going to be available. It really is a very small price to pay for the information and/or interaction.
Networking is definitely not about “what’s in it for me” but rather about “How can I be of assistance to you.”
Nikki Viljoen is an internal auditor, business administration specialist and the owner of Viljoen Consulting, a specialist Internal Audit company. Viljoen Consulting recognizes the absolute necessity for SMME’s to implement best practices in respect of policies, procedures, flows, controls and other preventative practices, thereby protecting the company from possible fraud and other related losses.