'It's not what you know, it's who you know'?

Networking in business. No, not the computer networking, but the friendship networking. We're not talking buddy-buddy friends. We're talking someone you can pick up the phone and call when you need something done NOW. This is how people become successful, they network. Networking can be a stepping stone to better contacts, better prospects and a better career. There are many important things to know about networking in order to be successful. It is really important in any line of business, esspecially if you are planning on furthering your career or starting up your own business.

Networking means building professional relationships with a group of people who can help you to better your career, and staying in contact with them.

Building up your network

Who is in your network?
You may not even know it but you already have a network formed. Relatives, friends, bank manager, soliciter, accountant, boss, collegeaues, clients and so on. You may loook at this group and think how small it is, and it is small now but the question is'nt about the size but how can these people help me? Who do they know that I don't?

Make a list of all these people consider what they can do for you. Have they already helped you in some way or another? Who do they know? Who do they work for/with?

How to network
The first step of making a new business acquaintance, is of course, meeting them! Typically an old social friend will introduce you, and your title, to the prospect. This is the most important part, first impressions are vital. Make sure to explain what the business is that your in and what exactly your role in the company is. Then show some interest in the other person. Find out exactly how helpful they can be.

If you are still interested, invite them out to a lunch, keep the lunch completely social. Become this person's friend! Well, you sort of do want to be their friend, but you also need them. Introduce your new acquaintance to some of your other friends, bring them into your social life. When you hold special dinners, make sure they are invited.

Keep in touch with this new acquaintance, periodically phone them to give them seemingly useless information, just so they know you have not dropped off the face of the earth. Also if possible, do favors for them, so they owe you one.

Now, if the time ever comes that you need something from this person, you can just pick up the phone and carefully ask. Remember to end the conversation with "I owe you one." Attempt to make as many "business acquaintances" as possible. You never know when you might need a favor.

Check out these other articles in the Careers category:

In a Rut? Ready For a Career Change?
Career Success: Get Ahead of the Crowd
The Career Athlete: What It Takes to Manage Your Career
Tips To Survive A Layoff
Avoid Mistakes And Gaffes In Your Job Resume