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Thursday, February 21, 2008

The real way to network

This image is from the North Carolina government Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses. The website offers a photo review for a 2007 Contractors Networking Reception and Expo. Something for our North Carolina publisher Bob Kruhm to research.
My advance (printed) copies of The SMPS Marketer arrived yesterday, along with a kind hand-written thank-you note from Lisa Bowman. Almost simultaneously, Ford Harding called to thank me for my courtesies to him; in his voice message he asked if there is anything he could do for me. Lisa and Ford are of course practicing one of the most essential principals of effective marketing, by openly expressing their thanks. (In turn, I emailed Lisa to encourage her to introduce an essentially cost-free service that would provide real value to ALL contributors to the Marketer; and when I checked the blog, I discovered that I had inadvertently deleted the permalink to Ford Harding, and reset it. And I called Ford, and told him the only thing I needed in return is for him to continue doing his good work.)

Note that Lisa, Ford, nor fellow Marketer contributor Tim Klabunde (see below) have not sent any business to me, nor do I expect to provide any revenue-generating business or services to their companies in the near future. But we are networking the way it is supposed to be done and the rewards, if not immediate, will be found in the future.

Tim Klabunde, director of marketing at William H. Gordon Associates ( a Washington, D.C. engineering firm, writes in his SMPS Marketer Article:

Ask Yourself, "How Can I help This Person?"
The next time you head out to network, remember what you are really there to do. It is time to rethink how you perceive networking. No more collecting business cards, giving a sales pitch on your company, or thinking about who in the room can get you the next job. Instead, start by focusing on building meaningful relationships with others. When you walk up to someone, think to yourself, "How can I help this person?" When you learn how to focus on helping others first, the real networking begins.

Klabunde notes in his article:

Some of my most successful days networking I spend sitting at my desk. I don't attend a single association event, no lunches, and definitely not any speed-networking events. To succeed at networking, I work my computer and make phone calls with the sole purpose of helping other people. I make introductions, forward project leads, pass along information from a local paper, and laugh with friends about my two sons' most recent escapades.


Networking is not about the 'immediate', nor is it about 'take'. Effectively done, it is a long-term proposition. Note you don't need to spend long hours on the process and you can link your work on one thing to another.

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