How Are You At Networking?

Nov 16th, 2010 | By | Category: abundance, aptitude, Career advice, challenges, competing, competitive challenges, negativity, networking, personality, skills, strategy, success, tactics

PracticaL Mwentor

Networking is one of the most fundamental elements of success and one most of us neglect the most. There are many axioms relating to the importance of building personal and business relationships. If we take a few minutes and think about it, almost everything we want must come from someone else. In this tightly interwoven society no one is independent or achieves success with out the help and support of others.

There are many axioms relating to the importance of networking. Dale Carnegie is probably one of the most famous supporters of the importance of “Winning Friends and Influencing People.” Dale built a very successful career by helping others to interact more positively with others. Dale Carnegie Training is a world wide organization based on the principals developed over more than a hundred years. Although Dale did not invent the concept he adapted it to fill a recognized need; how to network successfully.

Man is probably the preeminent social animal. So why do so many of us have so much difficulty developing and maintaining our personal and business networks? I am sure that there are many deep-seated psychological reasons based on our individual experiences, but there are also many dichotomies in our culture, which teach us the wrong lessons. For example:

Competition vs co-operation. – Although we are taught that we should work together to achieve common goals, the prime reward system of schools, universities, and professional careers is based on competition. So why would anyone want to help someone they are competing with? On the other hand, we learn that by helping others, they in turn may help us. This usually works, but if you have even ended up on the short end after helping someone may be hesitant to help others. This also mentally transfers this same negative idea of why anyone would help you.

Zero Sum Game – In game theory and economic theory, zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero. This means for every winner there is a loser. Again helping or cooperating with someone means you get less. Again why would you help anyone, and why would anyone want to help you?

Disappointment- Disappointment is a bitter pill to swallow. It comes in many shapes and sizes. Usually disappointment occurs when we convince ourselves that we deserve something only to have it taken from our grasp. Often there is an embarrassment associated with disappointment because some how we feel that others are critical of situation. Disappointment often weights heavily on our self-esteem reducing our perception of how we see ourselves and how others see us, making us more introverted and less anxious to interact with our peers.

Mediocrity – In my experience mediocrity seems to be the largest networking hurtle. When things become so routine there seems little to talk about with anyone. How do you network effectively if you do feel you don’t have anything to say?

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but perhaps it will spawn some ideas to help you explore your own hesitancy to build and maintain personal and professional networks.

There are several articles on the Internet on the benefits of networking, some basic ideas of how to get started. http://www.wikihow.com/Network, http://www.ehow.com/how_1382_network-effectively.html and http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-network-like-a-pro-2010-4 are the top three returns of my Google search “How to Network”. There is a lot of material available on the Internet to help you get started.

The primary goal of this article is start a discussion on the http://practicalmentor.com website on networking issues. The forum page on website is under construction so in the meantime you can leave a comment or email me at practical.mentor@gmail.com , and I will up date this article with your input. I also invite you to become friends of the PracticaL Mentor on facebook. Part of my motivation for this article is to help me improve my networking skills, and a discussion group would help all involved with information and new ideas. So far most of my friends on facebook are from the famous 4f group: family, friends of family, friends and friends of friends. My challenge now is to learn to network with the general public. Hope you will join me.

The PracticaL Mentor.

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