bootcamp2People with a strong circle of influence are the most successful. Surrounding yourself with the RIGHT people at the RIGHT time is crucial to professional success! Do you need to amp up your networking strategy?

Networking is usually thought of in one of two situations: when you lose a job and badly need an introduction to power their job search campaign or when you start a business and want to get quick sales. Either way, these are the absolute wrong times to “start” networking. Networking is an ongoing relationship building process that should be cultivated long before you need help. Many women (and men) are afraid to network because they don’t know how, they feel the people they meet won’t benefit them or they simply don’t make the time. The Fearless Networking Boot Camp is designed for the upwardly mobile professional who wants to increase their professional capital and position themselves as a Power Networker.

During this 3 day intensive boot camp you will:

Learn the basics of developing, building, and maintaining a network of professionals that will enhance your job search and professional development.
Reach the correct type of people to network with.
Learn how to speak to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Grow your reputation & industry influence.
Increase your confidence & let go of FEAR.
Build real, solid, substantive relationships.
Showcase your expertise/brand yourself as a subject matter expert.
Choose events, organizations and strategies that align with your goals.
Set an agenda and clarify your goals.
Maximizing social networking while not losing your effectiveness in traditional networking.

Boot Camps are intense three day sessions where attendees not only learn the theory of networking, but also the practical application. Exercises, assignments and partners are assigned to each attendee to practice the material presented in the boot camp. Each participant will receive the Fearless Networking Workbook, a copy of Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers and the required handouts as part of their registration.

Are you ready to transform the way you network? Join my Boot Camp today. Contact me for more information on upcoming boot camps.

Networking Boot Camp- Live Online

9/9 – 9/11/09 6:30 PM – 9 PM EST

Register today. Seats are first come first serve. Must have internet access and phone access to participate.

Cost- $349 per person

http://www.goaheadtalktostrangers.com/bootcamp.html

The hottest trend on the internet and in business today is Social Networking.  At the forefront are powerhouse sites like Linked In and Facebook.  Anybody who spends anytime online knows about (or should know) the power of Social Networks. Many have heard about Linked In, created a Linked In network, and even toyed around with the Groups and Answers features.  But most people don’t know how to effectively use Linked In to grow their careers or business effectively.

Many people join the site, and send and receive invitations to connect.  Some follow the unspoken rules of the site, some don’t and make spamming a pass time.  While some people have managed to just barely navigate Linked In and create great networks, few people know how to effectively use the Social Networks they have created. While there are many social networking sites, for the purpose of this blog entry I will focus on Linked In.

There is a lot of information on Linked In and other places on the internet describing the features of the site.  You can find stories about the site owners and how they’ve raised money for the site.  You can find self professed gurus telling how their expertise can help them turn a Linked In network into a sales pipeline or using it for successful job hunting.  But you rarely learn about the work and effort you need to put into it to make it work for you.  Signing up for an account is the first step.  Putting up a profile is the next important step.  But if you leave it there, you are doing yourself a disservice and only adding to Linked In’s numbers, not it’s success stories.

To be effective in any type of networking, you need to put in the effort.  I set aside time each quarter to connect with all of my 700+ connections to let them know what’s going on in my world and how I can help them with any issues they are dealing with.  I am on Linked In daily because I run two groups on there and  get approval requests daily, not to mention inmail and invitations I need to weed through.  Every weekend, I am on Linked In looking for potential people to connect to.  I craft personalized introduction letters and request connection.  I also take time to answer questions when I can.  Sometimes I’ll answer publicly, sometimes privately.  But I try to take advantage of opportunities that will allow me to showcase my expertise (not solicit business or recruit, but show my expertise).  I send notes to my connections who have posted recent promotions, successes and good news.  They are almost always surprised by that action.  It shows I’m paying attention.

Another thing I try to do is humanize my networks.  To me, it’s not enough to just join a group or add a connections.  If I am connecting with someone it has to have meaning.  I’ll call when I can, and in some cases plan to meet face to face.  This coming Friday, I am having lunch with some of my connections and I am very excited.  What is the sense of “knowing someone” without getting to know them?  I’m not in some contest to see who can have the most connections.  I connect with whom I want to connect.  Somehow it all works itself out.  Remember that video I posted a little while back by IBM, where the guy is explaining he has 600+ friends on his network, and his boss tells him to find 10 potential high level employees?  And he responds that he doesn’t know anyone like that?  Well that’s an example of poor networking form.  I can guarantee that any type of position someone has I can find a contact who knows someone who is an ideal fit.  That is a wonderful advantage to have.  Because I keep in touch with my network, it is easier for them to remember who I am and makes them more willing to help me.  I’m not bothering people with forward requests.  I’m not referring people I don’t know.  I respect my network and am growing it organically. That is what makes me a successful networker.

There’s more to social networking but this blog isn’t long enough to hold it all.  I teach courses on social networking that breaks it down to the bare essence. If you’re interested, come check one out.  They’re not expensive.

So before you Link In, consider why you are linking in and what purpose it’ll serve.  Consider what amount of time you plan to put into it and what your expectations are.  Don’t connect for the sake of connecting or numbers.  Cultivate your network like you would your garden.  I guarantee the more attention and love you give it, the better your return.  If you don’t know how to do it, learn.  It’ll do wonders for your career and/or business

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham