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    Women Business Leaders: 5 Steps to Take Control of Your Networking

    One cannot negate the power of personal connections and community engagement to build your brand. Besides using networking as a business-building tool for women business leaders and women business owners, I see great benefit in engaging in networking every  day, for both yourself and your team. The key is to maximize your efforts and ensure worthwhile results.

    Here are some simple but great tips on getting the most out of your networking activities, based on an article by New York Times best-selling author Ivan Misner: “Five Ways to Take Charge of Your Own Networking.”

    1. Participate in networking events every month
      Ivan suggests attending two to three events each month. It goes without saying that the more people you meet, the greater your chances will be to generate new business. But don’t just look at your new acquaintances as “business prospects.” Spend some time getting to know them – and their businesses – outside of the business environment. People refer business to friends, not just someone they exchanged cards with.
    2. Make two personal business call each week
      Reconnect with past business acquaintances by taking the time to make a personal call, says Ivan. I think in today’s crazy-busy business environment, many of us feel it is just too time-consuming to make a phone call. I know I am sometimes guilty of this myself, but Ivan makes a good point when he notes that you can’t expect referrals if you don’t make those necessary connections.
    3. Use postcards and greeting cards throughout the year
      I never really thought about doing this until I read Ivan’s suggestion.  Think about how many people you’ve met that you’d like to touch base with now and then on a more individual level. It’s much more personal to receive a card or note from someone you met at a business event than trying to remember them from a business card you shoved into a briefcase.
    4. Take care of your database
      This sounds very technical, but according to Ivan, it could be as simple as an index card filing system. For those who are technically savvy, this could be a contact management system on your computer that allows you to add, update, make notes, and even send information to your smart phone. These systems integrate your email as well, so you can generate emails to target specific groups in your database. Ivan’s point is this: however you decide to manage your contacts, just do it.
    5. Always say thank-you
      One of my pet peeves is the lack of courtesy I see in today’s hectic business environment. It’s so easy to say the words, “thank you,” but we don’t hear it as often as we should. Ivan remarks that your contacts are more than just business acquaintances; they are people with whom you have a relationship. Saying thanks can take many forms, but the main thing is to make sure it is genuine.

    The point here is that networking is all about relationships. And when you have a relationship, it must be nurtured and cared for in order for it to grow and prosper. I’ve written about the importance of networking in the following blogs: “3 Networking Ideas for Women Business Leaders,” and “6 Networking Trends Women Business Leaders Should Follow.”

    Tell me about your networking success stories. I’d like to create a blog based on the comments I receive here.

    2 Responses to “Women Business Leaders: 5 Steps to Take Control of Your Networking”

    1. These are some excellent, effective, tried and true, even universal tips to cultivating relationships in business – and in life. I also emphasize some even deeper truths in my new book The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business. One of truly being clear on your purpose and objectives and then showing up in alignment with these. Nothing is more off-putting at both the conscious and even subconscious level than the feeling of dissonance or inauthenticity when meeting and getting to know somone. Hope to read more of your posts. Excellent!

    2. Alex Dail says:

      One other rule I often read & hear about networking is worry most about giving. Work hard to give more value than you get when cultivating relationships.

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