Despite Latest Innovations, the Fundamentals of Building an Effective Network Remain UnchangedWhile networking may seem like a recent trend — aided by the explosion of technology-enabled platforms — the art of building and maintaining personal and professional relationships is as old as time.In each of the fifteen years ExecuNet has published its Executive Job Market Intelligence Report, networking has consistently ranked as the single most effective method for developing job opportunities — often generating nearly twice as many interviews at the executive-level than any other activity."While technology has proven to be an invaluable resource for maintaining a network, the operative word is 'maintaining,'" says Dave Opton, CEO and founder of ExecuNet. "The most effective personal and professional networks are built on trust, which remains largely a product of consistent, in-person interaction."To help executives improve the quality of their networks, ExecuNet suggests:
Offering Help Before Asking for It. The underlying philosophy of effective networking is to give before you take. By approaching networking from the perspective of meeting the needs of others, you will not only earn greater appreciation and respect, but your actions will often be quickly reciprocated.
Avoiding "Needworking." A contact list of hundreds, or even thousands, of people is useless if you only reach out to them when you are in need. To avoid this "needworking," start by contacting one person from your existing contact list each day. Find out what they have been doing (or do a little research of your own for a great conversation starter), what is going on in their life, and if there is anything you can do for them. You will be surprised how helpful this can be when you actually do need something.
Don't be Shy. The best networking technique is to simply make it a way of life. Whether you are standing in line at the bank, sitting in a waiting room or playing golf, don't be afraid to begin a conversation with a stranger. Start off with a general conversation and see where it leads.