Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for Business and Career Success

Overview

Meeting—and keeping—a network of powerful contacts is the most effective way to further your career or grow your business.  So how can you ensure that you are connecting with and impressing the right people? 

A practical, step-by-step guide for creating, cultivating, and capitalizing on networking opportunities and relationships, this book shows you how to make a memorable entrance, make conversations flow, and follow up. In this completely revised edition, the authors...

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Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for Business and Career Success

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Overview

Meeting—and keeping—a network of powerful contacts is the most effective way to further your career or grow your business.  So how can you ensure that you are connecting with and impressing the right people? 

A practical, step-by-step guide for creating, cultivating, and capitalizing on networking opportunities and relationships, this book shows you how to make a memorable entrance, make conversations flow, and follow up. In this completely revised edition, the authors offer new case studies, examples, checklists, and questionnaires, as well as expanded advice on building social capital at work and in job hunting. Complete with a unique self-assessment test that lets you chart your progress as you master the strategies that will help you build beneficial business relationships, this new edition of Make Your Contacts Count

shows you how to set yourself apart from everyone else in the room and:


• create a networking plan
• cultivate current contacts
• make the most of memberships
• share anecdotes that convey character and competence 
• avoid the top ten networking turn-offs
• and transform your career with a networking makeover. With Make Your Contacts Count, the tools to supercharge your career and boost your bottom line lie right in your hands.

ANNE BABER and LYNNE WAYMON lead Contacts Count, a consulting and training firm for business and career networking. Their previous books include the first edition of Make Your Contacts Count, and How to Fireproof Your Career.  Ms. Baber lives in Lenexa, Kansas.  Ms. Waymon lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

 

Praise for the first edition of Make Your Contacts Count:

 

“This is the definitive book on person-to-person networking. It's a complete methodology, i.e., step-by-step ’cookbook,’ on how to network.”—Business Ledger

 

"…well written and very compelling. If you read this book, you will be dusting off your meeting suit."—Central New York Business Journal

 

"This book is the networking blueprint, a must-read for anyone on the hunt for sky's-the-limit professional success."—Bizlife

 

“If you're serious about building your business, start right here."

—Terri Lonier, Founder, WorkingSolo.com

  

The best reference book for new networking ideas.”Beth Barnett, Director of Business Development, TeraTech Inc

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Follow these tips and the people you talk to should be able to see the big picture of who you are and what you can contribute.”

Workplace 911, national workplace columnist Bob Rosner

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814474020
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 3/9/2007
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 409,056
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Baber (Lenexa, KS) and Lynne Waymon (Silver Spring, MD) lead Contacts Count, a consulting and training firm for business and career networking. Their previous books include the first edition of Make Your Contacts Count, and How to Fireproof Your Career

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Read an Excerpt

Make Your Contacts Count


By Anne Baber

AMACOM Books

Copyright © 2007 Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8144-7402-0


Chapter One

Assess Your Skills

Taking the Self-Assessment in this chapter will give you an overview of your specific networking behaviors, attitudes, and strategies.

This exercise will help you.

* Test your current level of mastery of state-of-the-art networking behaviors and beliefs.

* Increase your awareness of the vast repertoire of skills and strategies available to you as you build business relationships.

* Remind yourself of some techniques that you know but don't use as much as you could.

* Pinpoint topics you want to focus on to increase your impact, professionalism, and comfort.

* Verify your increased competency when you take the quiz again, after you've made The Contacts Count Networking System a way of life.

Instructions

As you go through the Self-Assessment, we want you to know how we define some of the terms we've used. Then, you'll need to know how to select your answers. Finally, after you are finished with the Self-Assessment, you'll need to know how to assess your mastery and decide what to do next.

Defining Some Terms

Networking Event: All those business, quasi-business, and social situations in which you have opportunities to develop valuable connections.

Organization: Any group you join for the purpose of making business connections (professional association, Chamber of Commerce, alumni group, business referral group, board, etc.).

Company: Who you work for (your firm, your agency, your sole proprietorship, etc.).

Selecting Your Answers

Below, you'll find eight sections: Observing the "Netiquette," Assessing Your Comfort Level, Being Strategic, Meeting People, Using Networking Organizations, Making the Most of Events, Achieving Bottom-Line Results, and Following Through. Each section concentrates on a specific area of the networking experience. The statements in each section focus on what you believe about networking and what you do and say when you are networking. For each statement, check one of the following as your response:

Rarely for 0 to 20 percent of the time Sometimes for 20 to 50 percent of the time Frequently for 50 to 80 percent of the time Almost Always for 80 to 100 percent of the time

With each section, you'll find a commentary that will help you in your self-assessment.

Observing the "Netiquette"

Observing the "Netiquette"

I talk to discover reasons to hand out my business card.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

As I talk with someone, I'm trying to figure out a reason to give him my business card and get his.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I sense when I can begin talking about what I can offer or what my company provides.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I'm comfortable joining a group of people who are already talking.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I consciously work at talking only about 50 percent of the time.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I find interesting ways to say thank you when someone gives me a resource or referral.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

If a contact doesn't reciprocate, I skillfully and tactfully point out how she can help me.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

Look back at your answers as you consider these comments.

If you've ever had an awkward moment as you engaged in a networking activity, you know how daunting it is to feel as if you don't know what to do. As you learn the skills and techniques-and the rationales behind them-you'll find that you'll rarely find yourself in a situation you can't handle with aplomb and confidence.

Handing out lots of business cards isn't networking. See Chapter 6 for the rest of the story.

Do you worry about seeming too pushy? Too passive? If you're too pushy, you'll turn people off. If you're too passive, you won't get much out of networking.

When you're approaching a group, are you mentally back at the eighth grade dance, wondering if people will snub you? If you know the steps for joining (not breaking into) a group, you'll be able to do it with ease. The process appears in Chapter 6.

Do you, out of nervousness, find yourself chattering away, dominating the conversation? Or do you have a hard time holding up your end of the conversation with Success Stories and important topics to talk about? Give and take is basic to networking. Besides, you have to listen to learn what your contact needs. Chapter 7 will help you avoid all the top 20 networking turn-offs.

Do you say, "Thanks!" in ways that make you memorable, yet are appropriate? Corporate cultures, for example, differ. Appropriate ways to say thank you in IBM are bound to be different from what's done at an ad agency.

Great connectors observe and learn the "netiquette" in particular organizations from the members of those organizations. You can always ask the advice of a mentor at work, when deciding how to say, "Thanks!" Or, you can watch the pros in your association to figure out how quickly it's appropriate to "talk business" with potential clients at the meetings.

Do you sometimes feel that you are the only one in the relationship who is giving? Do you know what to do about that?

Assessing Your Comfort Level

Assessing Your Comfort Level

I feel professional and comfortable when I'm networking.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I'm energized and excited as I enter a room full of people.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

Networking is something I want to do, not just something I have to do.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I can talk easily about my successes.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

When I talk with people, I find out something of interest to me.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

At networking events, I can think of plenty of meaningful topics to talk about.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

Look back at your answers as you consider these comments.

Networking has emerged as a respected business and career skill. Why, then, does it sometimes feel uncomfortable?

Few families today sit down to a long Sunday dinner where Uncle Charlie tells stories and Grandma chimes in with reminiscences. Good conversational skills are learned. Few people are born with the gift of gab. But anybody can learn how to use conversation to build networking relationships.

Often, the "ground rules" for networking are unclear. Because it's a "hidden" career and business skill that you're just expected to know, many people are unsure about what's considered professional.

In some circles, networking is mistakenly equated with hot-dogging, tooting your own horn, or grandstanding. Some people say, "I shouldn't have to network. My good work should stand on its own without my having to promote myself." But who will know what you do well and what you need if you don't develop ease in talking about those things? For tips on constructing and telling Success Stories, see Chapter 11.

What happens in the conversation is that after you exchange names and after you ask "What do you do?" there is a pause. It's the pause that comes right before the conversation about the weather. Here's the rule: Never-and we mean never-talk about the weather or the ball scores. Instead, see Chapter 10 to learn how to carry around with you a pocketful of topics you really want to talk about, topics that will convince others of your expertise, build your credibility, teach others to trust you, lead you to resources, and assure that opportunities drop into your lap.

Being Strategic

Being Strategic

I have a long-range, strategic plan for my networking efforts in each organization I belong to.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I join organizations because of my strategic business/career development plan.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

Before I go to an event, I think of specific resources/tips/trends I have to offer to the people I'm likely to see there.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I initiate at least one networking meeting (breakfast/lunch, etc.) a week.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I let people know the types of problems I can solve, so they refer exactly the right kinds of opportunities to me.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I'm comfortable telling my contacts what I want or need.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

Look back at your answers as you consider these comments.

Are you surprised that "being strategic" didn't turn out to be one of your strong points? In this sped-up world, it's all too easy to run from activity to event-whatever's available this week will do-and then wonder why networking doesn't work!

So slow down! Make a long-range plan about which Arenas or settings you want to become known in and for what reason. Which organizations should you join? Test drive them before you plunk down the membership dues. There's a quiz that will help you make smart choices in Chapter 17. Want to do Olympic-level networking? Design a Project for yourself that will make you the natural and only choice when opportunity comes knocking.

Do you find yourself resisting being strategic? Do you think it's just too calculating to decide on a networking goal and go after it?

Do you wish things would "just happen" without your orchestrating them? Tell yourself that managing your networking contacts is okay; manipulating is not. When you are aware of the difference, you'll feel more comfortable making a strategic networking plan. Tell yourself that planning for visibility and credibility is just like any other planning you do for your business or your career: It makes sense. You have limited hours and dollars to spend in the marketplace, and-without a plan-you'll sink down into aimless activity that doesn't amount to anything.

In networking, strategy equals results.

Meeting People

Meeting People

When someone asks, "What do you do?" I avoid giving my job title (e.g., executive vice president of administrative services).

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I use several methods to learn people's names.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I've figured out a way to teach others my name and make it memorable.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

When I've forgotten someone's name, I know how to retrieve it comfortably.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

When someone asks, "What do you do?" I avoid saying, "I'm with ..." and giving the name of the organization I work for.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

When people ask what I do for a living, my answer paints a vivid picture.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

When someone asks, "What do you do?" I avoid leading with my occupation or job category (e.g., purchasing agent, lawyer, systems analyst, architect.)

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

Look back at your answers as you consider these comments.

Are you surprised that giving your job title isn't the right thing to do? It will be more valuable to you if people know your talent, not your title. As people meet you for the first time, they don't care (yet!) that you're with Smith, Jones, Miller, Barnes and Blarney or that you work for Verizon. To craft answers to the inevitable "What do you do?" question that features your talents rather than your title, the name of your company, or your occupation, consult Chapter 9. Hint: Your answers should make it easy for people to talk with you, and should begin to teach people about your Character and Competence.

Have you given up on remembering names? Don't despair. In Chapter 8 you'll find three ways to remember somebody's name and three ways to make your own memorable. That's important too. You'll be pleased to know that there are several things you can do when you forget someone's name besides to say, "Oh, no. I've forgotten your name."

To be a successful networker, you'll have to shed the old meeting/greeting rituals we know so well and do so mindlessly. These rituals restrict, rather than enhance, your ability to build relationships.

Using Networking Organizations

Using Networking Organizations

The first year I'm a member of an organization, I take an active role by serving on a committee or doing some job.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

When I join an organization, I attend at least 75 percent of its events.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I know whether my company supports business development/ networking with time and money.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I introduce myself to the leader or speaker when I go to an event.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

At networking events, I avoid spending time with people from my own organization.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I know how to increase my visibility in any organization I belong to.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

Look back at your answers as you consider these comments.

Are you making the most of your memberships? What are the worst mistakes members make? See Chapter 17. Too often, when it comes to joining organizations, people say, "I'm too busy!" Or "I'm too bashful!" Or "I'm too broke!" If you're in the midst of a job search or starting a business or professional practice, you may wonder if joining is worth the time and money. Well, not if you just join and hang around on the fringes. Not if you spend all your time sitting with and talking to co-workers you see every day. Not if you fail to find ways to exhibit your Character and Competence. Not if you miss opportunities to teach people to trust you.

Do you know how to connect at conventions? If you really want to get your money's worth, see Chapter 19.

Visibility is valuable. You'll find some great ideas about increasing your visibility at work in Chapter 14, and at networking venues in Chapter 17.

Making the Most of Events

Making the Most of Events

I know how to end a conversation comfortably and professionally and move on to the next person.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I avoid "ho-hum conversations" about topics like the weather or the ball scores.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I find it easy to turn the conversation toward what I do or my company does.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

At a typical networking event (two hours) I introduce myself to ten to twelve people.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

What I say at networking events is consciously designed to teach people to trust me.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

I arrive early at networking events.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently___ Almost Always____

When I'm listening to people, I try to think of someone they'd like to meet, and then I introduce them to each other.

Rarely____ Sometimes____ Frequently____ Almost Always____

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Make Your Contacts Count by Anne Baber Copyright © 2007 by Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface: Get Ready for State-of-the-Art Networking

The Time Is Right

Are You Ready?

The Contacts Count Networking System

Part I: Survey Your Skills and Mindset

Chapter 1: Assess Your Skills

Chapter 2: Change Your Mindset

Part II: Set Your Strategy

Chapter 3: Teach Trust

Chapter 4: Develop Your Relationships

Chapter 5: Go with Your Goals

Part III: Sharpen Your Skills

Chapter 6: Know the "Netiquette"

Bonus: Ten Tips on the Nuances of "Netiquette"

Chapter 7: Avoid the Top Twenty Turn-Offs

Chapter 8: "Who Are You?"

Chapter 9: "What Do You Do?"

Chapter 10: "What Are We Going to Talk About?"

Chapter 11: Make Conversation Flow

Chapter 12: End with the Future in Mind

Chapter 13: Follow Through

Part IV: Select Your Settings

Chapter 14: Network at Work

Chapter 15: Make It Rain Clients

Chapter 16: (Net)Work from Home

Chapter 17: Make the Most of Your Memberships

Chapter 18: Rev Up Referral Groups

Chapter 19: Connect at Conventions

Chapter 20: Jump-Start Your Job Hunt

Bonus: Manage Your Strategy Support Group

Index

About the Authors

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