Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Broaden Your Network

We've been fortunate in our careers to work with some of the very best along the way. As a result, we've built a network of very solid professional relationships – many of which continue to this day. It is through these contacts and others that Creative Vision continues to grow.

There’s no science to this; you do your best and good things result. You surround yourself with people of integrity and good things result. You gain referrals and more people want to work with you. It’s the nature of business and it is important to note that every person you meet along the way is an opportunity.

That’s an organic process, but what about all of the networking that doesn't happen organically? Most often, networking must be intentional; something that you plan. How do you begin?

First, create your intention. Ask yourself what you hope to get out of an opportunity. Is it new leads, new referrals or a social outlet to talk shop and combat isolationism? Once you know your purpose you can chart your course – whether it’s face-to-face networking groups in your area such as those provided by chambers of commerce, civic organizations, or BNIs, online networking via social media, or more non-traditional opportunities such as some of those found in social settings like book clubs or hobby groups.

Then consider your approach. We’ve found that the “speech” you might prepare in your head often falls flat. People see that coming and may start to tune you out before you’re given a chance. It’s best to open a dialogue and exchange information through conversation rather than something contrived. This goes for online and social media interaction as well. Let it flow.

If you choose to take the face-to-face route and meet people via organizations, be prepared to get involved. There’s nothing worse than being part of a group in name only. These opportunities allow you to demonstrate your talents for a common cause so potential customers get to witness you in your element.

Whatever course you choose to take, approach it with openness and professionalism. And keep putting yourself out there. You’ll be surprised at the results.