Networking is a necessary component of the professional world, allowing you to meet others in your field and gain beneficial knowledge from proven experts. Networking has again made its way to the news, with recent talk of Sir Alex Ferguson joining LinkedIn, the popular business networking site. His stint on the site should be used as an example for new members of the business world looking to get ahead.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Newest Networking Route
The former manager for Manchester United has long been recognized as a leader. His new book “Leading” was released along with his joining of the LinkedIn site. Not only does his decision to join the networking site gain him further attention for his book release, but it also allows him to market himself in a way he sees fit.
The world knows him as a leader and manager, but according to his LinkedIn profile, he believes himself to be an ambassador, author, director and visiting fellow. While many believe networking to only be about finding others in the field, it’s also necessary for marketing yourself and bringing attention to the many qualities you offer. Sir Alex Ferguson’s foray into this networking route could easily be used as an example of what to do when networking.
Networking No-Nos and How to Avoid Them
While Sir Alex Ferguson’s LinkedIn account shows an exemplary example of what to do on LinkedIn, there are some networking no-nos that you need to be aware of as well. Learning what not to do when networking is an important component to the process, so you are always putting the best information out there and getting the most out of what networking has to offer.
Social networking sites abound the Internet, making many believe that networking is only done online these days. But while networking through sites like LinkedIn can be very beneficial, never forget that networking in person is needed as well. It may be easier to simply shoot a text or send an e-mail, but it will also get you labeled as a phantom face. You may be heard of, but no one will have ever seen you to prove your merits. A simple face-to-face conversation can go a long way in making sure you’re remembered.
Settling for Simple
The simple route is to update your LinkedIn profile periodically and continue on with your work as normal. Just because you’ve networked in the past, however, doesn’t mean your work is finished. You shouldn’t settle for simple and be content with keeping your profile in its current status. A continuation of the networking process and gaining knowledge in your field is what will make you stand out. Attending conferences such as the Interop Conference in Las Vegas for IT professionals, speaking to additional people in your field and completing online training courses like those from CBT Nuggets are all ways to improve your career and success rate. Ongoing learning is essential to both networking success and career improvement.
Keep it on Good Terms
Most networking groups are rather small. When you speak to others and attend conferences, the same names and faces are bound to pop up. Conflicts with any of those people can cause a serious problem in your networking efforts. It’s always ideal to leave a company on good terms and keep in touch with previous coworkers to have those relationships working in your favor.
Forgetting to Follow-Up
Networking doesn’t mean meeting other people. Meeting them is only the first step. Continuing to keep in contact is the important part that many forget to do. If you have a conversation with someone, it’s vital that you follow-up with them shortly after. Thank them for their time via e-mail or send them a text about getting together again. A continued relationship is what makes the networking process work. Business coach and bestselling author, Michael Port, discusses the importance of follow-ups. He says it’s not only a marketing strategy, but one of the most important there is.
Just because you create a profile and start to make some networking connections doesn’t mean you’ll get great results immediately. Many people have unrealistically high expectations. They believe as soon as they join LinkedIn, they’ll automatically have requests coming in for conversations. The process is much more complex than that and can take some time to develop. Even if you follow-up with someone you had a conversation with, they may not return the courtesy. Remember – A mutually beneficial relationship takes time to achieve.
Neglecting to Return the Favor
Even when the other person offers a favor first, and expects nothing in return, you too should propose a favor you can complete for them. Making the offer and never following up on that promise is not wise either. Keeping the relationship entails returning favors and sticking to your word. It should not only be beneficial to you, but also to them.
Sir Alex Ferguson had the right idea when he joined LinkedIn. The popular business networking site can be utilized for networking and marketing, getting your name out there so others recognize your achievements in the field you’re in. Following his example is important, as is avoiding the networking no-nos that can ruin the work you’ve put in. Lunch meetings, business events and even social gatherings are all ways to network. Applying the rules for face-to-face conversations to those completed online will also help ensure your networking goes as smooth as possible.