Steps to Networking – Step 34: Shoot for the top

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 5th, 2010

STEP 34: Shoot for the top

Aim for the best that is within your reach. Start locally, identify who you know and determine how they can get you to the top. Plan an incremental approach. Get to know neighborhood association members and then move up to your supervisor, alderman, town councilors, mayor, state representatives, governor, US senators all the way to the White House. All the while, keep learning, building your knowledge base so that when it’s combined with your contact base, you will be more desirable.

Occasions will arise when you must have the best. For example, when health is concerned. Instead of settling for any surgeon who repairs heart valves, find the best surgeon for such repairs. Usually, the referral process begins with the cardiologist, who diagnosed the faulty valve. He/she will give you several names. Then it’s time to turn to your network. Immediately, get the word out and spread it widely. Call network members who are in health related fields and tell them, “I’m trying to find the best surgeon who specializes in repairing cardiac valves.” Ask if they know the surgeons that the cardiologist suggested or have heard of them. If your inquiries are unsuccessful, broaden the search to other members of your network. Often, they will give you the names of others who might help.

Go national

Many local networking organizations are branches or chapters of national organizations. Become active with local groups that have state and national organizations. Start locally and then expand to the state, national and international levels.

When you join a group, attend regularly. To make meaningful contacts, you have to go to more than one or two meetings. Become a recognized presence. Volunteer for committees to demonstrate your abilities. Organization members come and go and groups, on all levels, are always searching for fresh, new talent to fill empty slots. Making a name for yourself on the local level is a wonderful stepping stone to nationwide prominence. And it works visa versa.

Jill is active in the San Francisco chapter of eWomenNetwork. Last spring, she was booked to speak in Houston by the National Speakers Association. As soon as she had that booking, Jill called the eWomanNetwork Chapter in Houston and ask it they need a speaker at the time she would be in Houston. The Houston chapter them booked Jill to speak. Even if the Houston Chapter hadn’t asked her to speak, Jill being such a dynamic networker would have attended the local chapter meeting or lunch to meet and network with Houston chapter members.

Before you travel to another market, investigate whether the organizations you belong to have branches in the cities you plan to visit. If so, check if they will be holding events at that time that you can attend to expand your network contacts.

Action steps

1.State your purpose, identify exactly why you want to network.

2. Describe in full, graphic detail your compelling vision.

3. List four ways that you can research your targets.

4. Write down three ways that you can inoffensively network at nonnetworking events.

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

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