468

You understand the value of your network, you understand the power of business networking and the importance of keeping in touch with your contacts. But how do you network if you’ve never really bothered to keep in touch with people and have woken up late to the value of having a strong people network? It’s a really interesting question and applies to a lot of people (although most of them aren’t brave enough to ask it as one person recently did).

best-time-to-plant-a-tree-1024x768

How do you network?

Networking is far more than meeting people. That is only the beginning of the process. Developing your relationships with the people in your network is the essential part that has to come before being able to do anything else with your network (whether that’s get referrals, sales, career progression or be able to work with them in any other way). The Excedia 5 level model develops the idea of these relationships further; for now let’s just say they’re essential.

What to do if you haven’t kept in touch?

Many years ago, I had great friend and for one reason and another we drifted out of contact. Now, I knew that I wanted to “stay friends”, and that meant we needed to speak to each other again! The problem was, the longer it went on, the harder it got to get back in touch. It reminds me of the old saying:

[su_quote]When is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago! When is the second best time to plant a tree? Today![/su_quote]

It happens in business in the same way too. Sometimes knowing that we really ought to re-engage becomes a reason not to re-engage; when we should cut ourselves some slack and try.

Relationships degrade

When you’re not actively looking after the relationship, it’s degrading. The key thing is to start getting back in touch, albeit in a “light touch” way. Thinking you can pick up where you left off, is likely to lead to problems. Maybe there’s a simple admission of “mea culpa”, maybe you just start to get back in touch – very gently.

Then pick up with those that respond well. Only this time, get better at keeping in touch! For 6 tips to get back in touch with people you have lost touch with, click here.

Get better at falling off the wagon?

I recently wrote “Getting better at falling off the wagon is good for business”. Essentially we all want to grow our network/ expertise/ firm/ selves (fill in whatever you’re trying to get better at); but we suffer from one fatal flaw? Like me, and many others, you are merely human!

We get excited, work on “stuff”, start developing good habits and then it all goes wrong; you’ve fallen off the wagon! Many people then find that a few days/ weeks months pass and they’re back to square one, or worse, and feeling frustrated?

How can you be kinder to yourself and pick yourself up more readily? Falling isn’t failing and considering this can improve performance.

So, what do you think? What should you do harness the power of business networking, if you’ve not really kept in touch properly?

 
Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Networking is a key part of getting great results in small firms. If you want great networking tips sent to your desk once a month, click here and I will start sending them to you, so you can make a real difference to your referrals.