Make yourself valuable to others
When I think about the basics of networking three things come to mind: What do I want? How do I get there/it? And how do I make myself valuable? If you know the answers to these three questions then you are probably well on your way to networking your way to the top.
What do you want? If you can’t answer this you are wasting your time networking. Understanding your goals and developing a specific plan will bring things into focus. Writing down and identifying exactly what you want will keep you on the path to success and you will be come more crystallized in achieving them in a timely manner. Goals must be attainable and specific. Goals like I want to be a millionaire are not specific, you may get there but if you start with a goal of I want to be in top upper management in my job in five years you are more likely to succeed. Goals can change as our life’s change. There are times in our lives that we change directions for whatever reason and when that happens remember that opportunity can change what you want in life. Just be aware of what your opportunities are along the way as I think some of us don’t recognize opportunities that are presented to us because we lose our flexibility and willingness to change directions. As networkers we need to always keep in mind that we may need to identify new goals and to make sure we know exactly what it is that we do want.
How do I get there/it? Once we have identified our goals then we must figure out a step-by-step networking plan to get where we want to be or to obtain what it is that we want. Having a clear understanding of your plan and each step it will take to succeed depends on the process you develop and follow point by point throughout that plan. Organization is a key to a successful plan. Have a plan and follow the plan. If you don’t write it down it won’t happen. Make yourself accountable. If necessary find accountability partner that will hold you accountable. Meet with that person on a weekly basis so that you stay on track. If you don’t have a road map you won’t know where you are going.
How do I make myself valuable? As networkers we must consistently prove that we have something to bring to the table. When we meet someone the thought that most of us have in our mind is “what can this person do for me?” So how do you show someone that you are of value without having him or her come right out and ask you? One way to be of value is being able to create or start an interesting conversation. Work answers to questions that they may be thinking about asking before they ask. Being a good listener is the key to being a good conversationalist. Don’t be afraid to offer ways to assist or tell someone that you may know a person that can help them. If during the conversation they mention they have a passion for a certain charity and you know others that have the same passion or you know of a charity that is looking for supporters, offer to make the connection or introduction for them. If you ‘hear’ what you are being asked you are more likely to show that you are of value. We miss a lot of opportunities by not consciously engaging in what is being said because we often don’t hear what people ‘aren’t’ saying.

Author's Bio: 

Jacque Miller holds a Masters degree in Holistic Nutrition, is a Certified Behavior Specialist, Certified Lifestyle Coach in Cave Creek, AZ and developed the networking card game “Promotion Motion”. She is a speaker and author.