Career Management: Relationship Building
Building relationships, networking, getting to know more people to grow your business. Call it what you want; it is one of the main reasons many join the Chamber. Brian Tracy, internationally known author specializing in training and development of individuals and organizations, states: “according to the laws of probabilities, the greater number of people you know who can help you in any given time, the more likely it is you will know the right person at the right time and place to give you the help you need to move ahead more rapidly in your life. The more people you know, the more doors of opportunity will be open to you and the more sound advice you will get in making important decisions that shape your life.”
Business After Hours are just one of the programs you can utilize as a member to expand the number of people you know, which gives you more opportunity to shape you and your business. Everyone knows that building relationships are important, but it also is something that many people say draw them out of their comfort zone. According to Darcy Rezac, the author of Working the Pond, “seizing the moment requires you to meet new people, socialize, and hand out business cards. Herein lies the problem. Most people are uncomfortable to some degree doing this very thing.” Networking is not about making a sale; it is about starting a relationship. We all know that people do business with people they know and trust. When meeting someone, learn what you can do for them now or possibly in the future. Start off by introducing yourself and asking questions to the person you are meeting to learn more about them. If you have already met them, ask them something about what you learned from your last conversation. If you want to meet someone, find a person who know everyone or the person hosting the event to introduce you. (hint: ask me J) People are happy to help you make those connections. Most importantly, be natural and have fun! If you do get stuck with someone monopolizing your time, introduce them to someone else. As the circle of conversation widens, you can easily excuse yourself and move on to meeting others. Remember to follow up when needed after an event. Also be sure to watch for announcements of your contacts in the newspaper or listen for them on the radio. Then follow up by sending them a note congratulating them on their recent recognition.
I hope that these few tips help you become more comfortable in your relationship building. Remember, networking is an ongoing process; you never know, the most important person you know may be someone you haven’t even met!
Our next Business After Hours is this Thursday, August 6, hosted by the United Way of the Flinthills. This will be a great event in which to meet key community leaders. It is the kick off of the Pacesetter Campaign, so you are sure to meet a lot of community minded people.
Jeanine McKenna, President & CEO