Not to be blunt, but a business professional who cannot network is not a business professional. According to a global survey by the LinkedIn Corporate Communications Team, “almost 80 percent of professionals consider professional networking to be important to career success.” The LCCT survey subsequently reports that “70 percent of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a previous connection.” Fortunately for aspiring entrepreneurs, our modernized society is replete with opportunities for anyone; given the right attitude and approach, to accumulate a network that produces significant top-line results. Now, how can YOU get out and start networking today?
As can be expected, the United States has a relentlessly competitive job market; therefore granting potential mentors/colleagues to be overwhelmed with endless amounts of appealing apprentices. Stand out from the crowd. Mark Cuban is quoted when speaking on his first job at Mellon Bank as saying “I wanted to be more entrepreneurial. I took the initiative… I used to send notes to the CEO of the bank. I once cut out a magazine story about… and sent it to him.” Although this comparison is less than ideal for your typical networking scenario, the point remains. Think outside the box.
Aim for Rapport
As previously mentioned, somebody you believe contains merit as a potential mentor/colleague is more than likely overwhelmed with “opportunities” presented by young entrepreneurs. Forget your sales pitch now. Once presented with an opportunity to network with a potential value-add for your career, strive to bestow a gratifying presence. Colleen DeBaise, a special projects director at entrepreneur.com, with an extensive business-related background, suggests in her article “7 Tips for Networking” that “People are more apt to do business with – or partner with – people whose company they enjoy.” As a result of Colleen’s experience, she has discovered a productive process whereby a momentous experience is created.
As Colleen concludes in her piece: “Leave a lasting impression by telling a story about why you were inspired to create your company. Talking about what you enjoy is often contagious, too. When you get other people to share their passion, it creates a memorable two-way conversation.”
As the saying goes, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Routinely remind your potential mentor/colleague of the value you can bring by staying on top of your projects and always giving your best effort at work.