Steps to Networking – Step 15: Awareness

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 4th, 2010

STEP 15: Awareness

Focus starts with awareness. Usually, it’s a painless process that is a natural byproduct of our interests and it occurs without planning or effort. When we are truly interested or involved, doors open through which we can see. How many times after being introduced to something new, have you found yourself merrily breezing along when suddenly, your antennae pick up signals that alert you to information about that subject – – – a subject in which a just short time ago you had little or no interest. Before long, everything concerning that subject seems compelling, is lodged in the forefront of your mind and everything relates to it.

Isn’t it amazing that as soon as you buy a car, you notice how many identical models are on the road? It’s not that those models weren’t there before; after all they didn’t all just simultaneously race out of the showrooms. They were probably out there for a while, but you simply didn’t register seeing them. Now that you’re aware, you see them everywhere.

The same holds true for networking. In most cases, your contacts have been around for quite a while. However, you confined them to specific niches. To you they were friends, family, business associates or service people, not potential network contacts. When you expand your awareness to see those around you also as members of your network, you can refine your networking focus.

Focus on networking. Practice honing your networking focus until it becomes a highly-developed skill. Begin by:

• Asking yourself if people you know, meet or hear about could help you network.
• Clarifying precisely how these people could help. For example, introduce you to the mayor, recommend you for the membership in the garden club or inform you where they found their antique Venetian carnival masks.
• Find out what places and events would be worth attending to expand your contacts.
• Question how you can make the best use of information to connect you with your targets.

Developing networking focus isn’t difficult and before long, it will become second nature. Work to get it down pat because the ability to sharply focus is a priceless skill that will bring you rewards for the rest of your life.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

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