The recent boom in all sorts of various social networks has aroused great interest among people. They have started to look intensively for old and new friends, build communities, share pictures and news. Those things are done mostly for fun. But what about business? Networking can be extremely useful in terms of building business ties. Here is some useful information of applying social networks in business.
The Benefits of Networking:
1. It alerts you to opportunities before they arise. According to statistics, 7-8 jobs out of 10 are filled before advertised in an obvious way.
2. Many companies report that 40-50% of vacancies are filled by candidates referred by internal employees.
3. Having networked, you should know more about the company than external candidates – thus enhancing your employment prospects.
4. It allows you to shape the job description before it is written and advertised.
5. You face less competition as few other people effectively networked as compared to applying to adverts.
6. You can receive a personal recommendation from someone the hiring manager knows personally, thus increasing the chances of your securing an interview.
7. If your skills are select, your interest areas narrow or you are seeking entry into a competitive environment, networking offers the best way to locate job opportunities.
8. If you do not know the sector or company that matches your desired organizational structure and culture, then networking is the most effective way of finding a match.
9. Personal referrals from networking enhance your bargaining position when negotiating your employment package.
“Do’s” – Principles of Networking:
1. Be prepared.
2. Be open-minded.
3. Be image-conscious at all times.
4. Always follow up on referrals.
5. Record all referrals and other useful information.
6. Choose members based on information, not position.
7. Give without expectations.
8. No technique is universal and works on every occasion.
9. Networking should be mutually beneficial whenever possible.
10. Say thank you!
Task: Divide the students into groups of 3-4 students each. Ask them to create 5 “do not’s” – anti-principles of what not to do while networking. Present the ideas to the class.
Networking Is a Two-way Street:
Make the transition from independent to interdependent.
|“They probably do not have time…”||“I call on people in a way that respects their time.”|
|“I can do this myself…”||“I work effectively and efficiently with others.”|
|“I know what needs to be done here…”||“I share my ideas and others can check my thinking.”|
|“I do not want to bother people…”||“I acknowledge others by asking and including them.”|
|“They probably do not know anyone…”||“I’ll never know if I do not ask!”|
Ways I can be of value to others:
1. Introduce people to other people.
2. Recommend products and services that have benefited me.
3. Share the information that I have learnt through my success and failures.
4. Provide feedback regarding ideas.
5. Provide encouragement.
6. Share my expertise.
7. Brainstorm and contribute ideas.
8. Learn about other people’s businesses so that I can promote and refer business to them.
9. Provide a new insight or idea.
10. Forward some relevant information I come across that could be of interest or value to people.
Task: Divide the students into groups of 3-4 students each. Ask them to brainstorm the idea of what networks are available to them/where they can find new, interesting, useful ties. Present the ideas to the class.
Telephone Rapport Principles:
1. Be your most confident and relaxed. Vary your tone. A slower deeper tone reflects someone who is confident and relaxed. A high pitched tone may reflect someone who is anxious. Smile as you talk – it will help you to relax. Do not try to sound like a radio DJ or TV announcer.
2. Plan and research your call – write out and practice your script.
3. Keep your “little speech” about who you are and why you are calling down to 15 seconds.
4. Pronounce names correctly. Call the organization’s reception and ask how the person’s name is pronounced. Ask them to repeat it as many times as you require. Write it out phonetically (how the word sounds) to help remind you of the best way to pronounce it.
5. Form a mental impression of the person you are speaking to based on the voice, its resonance, timber, pitch, tone, etc. What kind of picture does it offer of a person? This will help you to remember the person and also give you some clues to their character (for instance, long pauses may reflect an introvert who may prefer to have time to reflect on what you have said).
6. Match your voice to the same speed and volume as the person you are speaking to. Do not mirror or exactly copy it – this might be seen as being false. If the voice sounds rushed and anxious to get on then move quickly before the person loses interest and patience. Alternatively, if the person is slow and deliberate, speak more slowly than you normally do. By doing this, you are giving the impression that you are similar to them.
7. The best calling times are between Tuesday and Thursday, 9 am – 5 pm working hours. In case of emergency, be sure to apologize for calling outside the normal working hours. The worst times to call are: Monday 9 am – 10.30 am and Friday 4 pm – 5 pm.
8. Thank the person for their time.
Task: Let the students continue the list of possible general networking questions and suggestions. Give each one of them the samples and ask to create 5-8 more of their own. Share the questions with the class.
Sample General Networking Questions:
1. What do you do?
2. How long have you done it?
3. Why do people typically come to you?
4. What are the perspectives of your business?
5. How has the organization been beneficial to you?
6. What do you like most about this organization?
7. Would you be interested in getting together for lunch sometime? It looks as though we assist many of the same companies. I’d like to know more about what you do so if one of my clients should need resources such as those you offer, I will know whom to call.
How helpful is this person currently? Do they hold positions, influence or power? If they are top priority to you make them your Gold contacts.
Are they useful people to know? Do they know a lot of other people and have a lot in common with you? Are they a source of good ideas and latest information? You may prefer to think of those people as your Silver contacts.
Are they people that you want to keep in contact with but only on an infrequent basis? These are your Bronze contacts.
Finally, is this contact someone that you do not like, does not share anything notable in common with you and is unable to offer you anything more?
Probably this contact is not worth maintaining.
Task: Distribute the following chart among your students. Ask them to fill in this chart for every notable contact. (You may prefer to give several copies to every student, thus helping them to form a portfolio of contacts.)
|1. Full name.|
|4. Telephone numbers.|
|5. Contact address.|
|6. Source of contact.|
|7. Date called / e-mailed / met.|
|9. Other information given.|
|10. Follow-up actions.|