The Art of Networking

social-connections-graphicNothing is less important than which fork you use. Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor. -Emily Post

In business the best way connect isn’t always online within our social networks. Recently I read both, Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends and Book Yourself Solid. Both books provided a great reminder of the power and benefits to be gained by practicing the lost art of loving on your network.

Five Powerful Disciplines of Loving on Your Network

    • Connecting the dots- There are people within your network that need to know each other! Maybe two people you know are working on similar projects, maybe they are experiencing a similar struggle, or maybe they just have personalities you believe are the perfect match…when you make powerful connections within your network everyone wins. Your network becomes happier, stronger, and they will always remember who introduced them.
    • Sharing articles that answer a concern- When I was working on developing some key services within an emerging Neuroscience Center I received a letter of encouragement from a local area hospital CEO.  Inside the envelope there was a copy of an article about how to launch a Neuroscience Service Line.  It meant the world to me!  In addition to the sentiment, the article contained exactly the information I needed at that time in my career.  Never underestimate the impact sharing a timely article will have on someone in your network. It proves that you listen and understand what problems they are facing.  It also says you care enough to help find the solution.
    • Sharing a book that will take them to the next level- This takes sharing articles to a whole another level.  Books are a very efficient means to share complex ideas, inspire new behaviors, solicit powerful responses, provide meaning for painful experiences, and in short change a person’s world!  Regardless of what message you are trying to share, a carefully selected book is always a perfect way to punctuate your point.
    • Sending cards- Thank you cards seem to be making a come-back.  If you have ever received a hand-written card mailed to your home, then you know what wonderful news that is.  Take your card-writing practice to the new heights and incorporate: congratulations, birthday, and sympathy card writing.  Set up a system that allows you to constantly scan for needs within you network that a card is the perfect gesture.  Make this practice part of how you conduct business and it will be one of the best investments you make professionally, as well as personally.
    • Feeding them- Resurrect the ancient tradition of taking people to lunch, for coffee, and sending treats to their workspaces. If this is the only discipline you adopt, your likeability factor will go through the roof.  People love and feel loved through food and fellowship!  If you are concerned about the notion inviting people to lunch or coffee will earn you the label of being an Askhole, remember that loving on your network is about you adding value to them…from that motivation you will be better than fine.  

Shawna Beese-Bjurstrom, RN, MBA lives in Spokane, WA with her family where she is an Executive Coach.  She writes on issues such as strategy, operational excellence, communication, and leadership, read her blog.

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