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Be a Master Networker: Everything You Need to Know - Yahoo Small Business Advisor

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The four basic principles are good.

1. Networking always starts with giving

The ultimate goal of networking is to connect with people who may be able to help you reach a particular goal: A direct sale, a referral, a contact, an endorsement, a job interview, etc. It goes without saying that when you network, you want something.

But you can't ask for what you want--at least not at first, and maybe not ever. Forget about receiving and focus on providing. Your ultimate goal may be to receive, but your short- and medium-term focus must be on giving. That's the only way to establish a real connection and relationship.

Focus only on what you want and you'll be like most other people... and you'll never make valuable connections.

2. No one cares what you need... or how badly you need it

A joint venture with a major player in your industry could transform your company. A write-up in the New York Times could generate the publicity you need to drive significant sales. An endorsement from Guy Kawasaki on his blog might kick-start your consulting business. Or maybe your start-up will soon run out of cash without a desperately needed infusion of capital.

All great reasons for you to connect with people, but no one cares. Nor should they. Your needs are your problem.

Never expect people to respond to networking efforts based on your needs. Everyone has needs. Others may feel your pain but it is in no way their responsibility to help you. People care first about how you can help them. Embrace that premise and you'll go far.

Plus, keep in mind networking is a little like dating. The more desperate or needy you are the less likely you are to connect with someone worthwhile.

3. Good networking is highly targeted

Some people like networking events. I don't. They're too unfocused.

A much better approach is to identify someone you can help, determine whether they might be able to help you, and then approach them on your own terms.

Always select your targets. Then go after them. Don't expect to find them at a networking event.

4. The higher you reach the less you should expect


All of these are well said.

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