Question from a reader:
Some experts on networking state that a good way to network is to join a
professional organization closest to your profession, and then join a
committee within the organization and contribute. Joining the committee
requires that you perform tasks in the eyes of your peers. By doing an
excellent job, your peers see you in a positive light.
Does Tim Sanders or Keith Ferrazzi touch on anything similar to this, in
their books you have read?
Benjamin Bach’s Answer: I’m going to give you another expert’s opinion, mine :) First, I’ll
let you know why I’ll give you Harvey Mackay’s definition of expert:
‘anyone who has read 5 books on a given topic is now one of the
world’s foremost experts on it.’ I’m writing a book right now, on
building relationships, called Give & Grow Rich. I anticipate it’ll be
ready for printing in about a year.
Building relationships is about connecting with people you meet, and
giving value to them in true Lovecat fashion (sharing your knowledge
and resources freely). Where you choose to ‘network’ will determine
who you meet. If you are looking to meet people from within your
industry, definitely join a professional organization (i.e. I could
become more involved in the KW Real Estate board or the Ontario Real
Estate Association). If you want to meet other people who love
communicating, join Toastmasters. If you want to meet influential,
powerful, decision makers in the business community – as I do – join
the chamber of commerce. There is no better venue to meet people.
Once you decide which organization to join, I highly recommend
volunteering on a committee or two. Pick something you’re interested
in and start giving back. In my case, I joined the Chamber Young
Professionals committee, and the Network Breakfast Committee which
organizes monthly keynote speeches.
There are a few major benefits to this: a) you will feel great giving
back to your community.
b) people who are involved in these committees are usually ‘centres of
influence’ – for example, on the Network Breakfast Committee there are
4 ppl who are CEOs or presidents of companies, a few VPs etc -
c) you will get recognition for a job well done from the community,
and people will appreciate that you are helping out and volunteering;
d) you will become a leader in the organization because you are taking
on a leadership role ! Eventually you will sit on the board of
directors, and then the executive etc.
Networking isn’t really who you know – it’s who knows you ! By
becoming a visible leader in your group, people will assume you’re a
leader in business as well, and refer business to you.
I caution people from getting involved in to many activities (we still
have businesses/jobs on the side!), or getting involved with causes or
groups that they aren’t genuinely interested in. People can tell when
you’re involved in a group just to get referrals, and you likely won’t
get too many of them in that case.