Folks who know me understand my passion for helping others personally and professionally. In the spirit of paying forward, I wanted to share my five commandments of networking in the hope that it will inspire, motivate you to think differently, provide some ideas to try, and teleport you into the mindset of a go-giver. These nuggets will resonate whether you are a CEO, CFO, HR professional, or Sales Executive.
It does not matter where you live or what you do – the power of networking will deliver rewards 10-fold. As the son of a football coach and teacher, this principal of paying forward has been burned into my circuitry and I can tell you that I am forever grateful. To quote Ringo Starr – “I can find a little help with my friends.”
You may be thinking … ‘I am not a good networker, I do not feel comfortable asking for favors’, or perhaps ‘I am a bit reserved, I am not in sales, so why should I network?’, and so on. To quote Jim Rohn – “ It’s easy to do things, but it also easy not to do them.” You pay two prices in life: the price for discipline in ounces, and the price of regrets, in tons.
Networking is not hard, it just requires a mindset, no different than going to the gym. Networking is not an occasional activity done out of necessity, it is a lifestyle. It is a muscle that needs conditioning. At first it may be uncomfortable, then it becomes a habit, a discipline, with self-confidence the result. Below are some of my “commandments” of networking. I did not scribe them on stone, but it may not be a bad idea.
1. It’s not about you!
Networking is about helping others. It’s about being curious. It is about listening and asking questions. When you focus on the other person, it will naturally come back to you. Understand it may not come back to you from the person you helped, so it’s important to understand that networking is not When it does come back, it will reward you 10-fold.
2. Each day make a list of a couple people you can help:
This daily exercise that takes very little time and can have huge benefits. Your smile and your kindness can have an impact in someone’s day. In my to-do list, I always jot down: Who will I help today? Followed with a list of couple names. Networking is about uplifting the other person.
3. “Help me help you”
This is a line from the movie Jerry Maguire. To excel at the art of networking you need to make it easy for the other person. Most people are good – they want to help, but in this age today, folks are busy. It is not that they don’t want to help – it just they are pressed for time.
- If you want to expand your network, look for a new job or ask for referrals. Do not ask people who do they know, instead tell them who they know. Take all of the pressure off your colleague, friend, or COI to make a list of folks they know. Then take the extra step and write the intro for them and attempt to do it in their voice. The result is that my friend does not have to think about what to write and just as important, I saved them all of the time.
- If you are in transition, it’s the same approach. If you are a CFO and you tell me — “I am a mid-market CFO looking for a company that is privately held in the range of 50-100 million and my expertise is healthcare and manufacturing.” That statement is great, but it does not help me help you. Instead, provide me names of companies, names of the executives that would hire you….etc. Now I have something to work with.
- Make it easy to be referable! This approach has transformed the way I approach business.
4. Get out there!
You cannot develop the muscle unless you go to the gym. I am not saying spend every ounce of free time at events….I am saying stay relevant with your community, your tribe, and your industry. Networking does not have to be industry related. It could be at a church function, community service, wedding, or tailgate (we will not bring up the Eagles). Networking can occur in your daily life.
5. Read Books:
A couple come to mind: Knock Out Networking, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Taking the Work Out of Networking, and What’s in It for Them. The Go-Giver is my favorite. If time is an issue, get the audio books and listen while you walk, go to the gym, or drive. Again – networking is a way of life, it is not a once in a while thing, so embody the spirit and learn from others that have a good message
I hope this provided some inspiration, good ideas, and the idea that networking is a universal practice that everyone can use. Before I go, I want to leave you all with a Bill Withers song “Lean on Me.” At its core, he sings about how he will help someone through their problems however he can. And that my blog family, is the essence of networking. Lastly, I want to share my sincere gratitude to you for reading and being a part of my blog family. If you like this, please drop me a note. If you have questions, please get in touch. If you want to connect and have coffee – I am more than happy to meet. Call to action: send this blog to 2-3 people in the spirit of being a go-giver. Appreciate you all!
Welcome to Carlozo’s Corner. I’m Anthony Carlozo, a client executive at Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA), the employee benefits division of Marsh.
At Marsh McLennan Agency, I work with organizations of all sizes to help them minimize their risk and maximize the value of their benefits programs.
Here I’ll be sharing insights about a current market trend and the strategies I’m seeing employers adopt to adapt to today’s evolving business landscape.