Monday, July 10, 2006

Networking: THE essential skill for employees, entrepreneurs, and job hunters

Now, more than ever, success depends not so much on what you know, but who you know. It's all about networking - probably the most important skill that no one ever teaches you.

If you're an entrepreneur, the best idea in the world means nothing unless you come across someone who's willing to invest in it. If you're a job hunter, having a great CV means little if no one is reading it. If you work for yourself or a consultant, how do you think you're going to find your way to new customers or clients?

But networking isn't merely a gift that some people have and others don't. It's a skill that can be learned. True, some people are better at it than others. But the truly successful networkers turn networking into a process.

So here are the five top behaviours of successful networkers:

  1. They prepare and practise answers to common questions that others might ask about them.
  2. They research both the event and likely attendees for every conference, seminar, or dinner they attend.
  3. They spend over two-thirds of conversations listening rather than talking.
  4. They demonstrate high levels of positive non-verbal communication such as smiling and nodding.
  5. They record notes on new people they've met.

How do you rate yourself?