10 Ways to Network Like a Pro in 2012

Posted January 30, 2012 in Latest News & Insights, Networking

It’s the year of the Dragon and time to stop acting like a mouse and make good on your annual resolution to get out and network!  This installment of our blog comes from our friends and the authors of  Work the Pond! (Prentice Hall) Darcy Rezac, Judy Thomson and Gayle Hallgren-Rezac.  Here are 10 ways that you can get yourself moving towards increasing your net worth through your network.  Enjoy!

  1. ACCEPT THAT THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. Recognize that if all the online connecting and the ability to work in your pajamas from home is making you feel isolated, you are not alone. Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together, says “We may be free to work from anywhere, but we are also prone to being lonely everywhere. In a surprising twist, relentless connection leads to a new solitude.” Make an effort to be where the action is—see Tip 8 and Steve Job’s advice.
  2. RAGE GENTLY AGAINST THE MACHINES. Things happen faster if you talk to someone in person or pick up the phone. The good news is that people actually answer their phones—it’s a novelty, a ringing phone. Curb the desire to email close-proximity colleagues, instead walk over to their office. Make more of your conversations face-to-face in 2012.
  3. EMBRACE THE OCTOPUS. Social media is a many-tentacled creature that squeezes time out of your 24 hours. Accept that it may not be practical to be a brilliant tweeter, blogger, You Tuber, LinkedIn or Facebook updater, so instead of hopping on all social media bandwagons, do one or two things well. Before you upload, send, or comment, ask yourself, ‘what did that add to my reputation, my brand or to anyone else’s world?’
  4. MAKE THE EFFORT ON LINKEDIN. Not only is LinkedIn the go-to-site for business connections, it has become the search engine for finding people. Wonder what happened to the guy you knew at Acme Inc. who has left the company and his email address has been disabled? Try LinkedIn. Savvy people have good, up-to-date LinkedIn profiles.
  5. START USING YOUR INITIALS. In the social networking world you may not be that special. If you have a common name, or have the misfortune of sharing one with an axe murderer or criminal, start including the initial of your middle name. Any wild and crazy pictures of you bouncing around the digital world? Google yourself and look at Images. Do you see your professional headshot or a go-go dancer with the same name?
  6. COMMIT RESOURCES TO YOUR FACE TO THE WORLD. Your business may have a Facebook Fan site with 36 million ‘Likes’, really cool videos, contests and then there’s one raunchy ‘Wall’ post that you didn’t catch. Maybe you need a DSM, Director of Social Media?
  7. REDEFINE NETWORKING, FINALLY! It’s about time to toss out the image of a glass of wine, cheese cube schmooze-fest and accept networking for what it is—it’s simply reaching out and making a connection. It happens in the hallway at work, sitting on an airplane, at social and business events. If there’s at least one other person in close proximity there’s an opportunity to connect. Networking is an attitude, not an event.
  8. TRANSFUSE THE DEAD ZONE.  Do your bit to bring some life back to the office by talking and sharing ideas. Take it from Steve Jobs: “There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat…That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions.” (from Walter Isaacson’s book, Steve Jobs).
  9. TEACH YOUR KIDS SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE SKILLS. Who else is going to do it?  Do they think to shake hands when meeting an adult? Do they know how to converse with those more senior? If you are a young person reading this and your parental unit forgot to share these life lessons, join a ‘young professionals’ group in a business organization. It’s amazing how senior business leaders say ‘yes’ to mentoring students.
  10. BE NICER. Make this Maya Angelou quote your mantra for 2012: “People will never forget how you made them feel.”

For more tips on how to be a networker extraordinaire, check out Gayle, Judy and Darcy’s website and sign up for their newsletter.  Let this be your year to let your inner networking dragon roar.

Happy leading!


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