Below is a review from one of our readers, Mark Shannon, who contacted us and wanted to be published on our website! Mark is a sophomore in high school and wants to one day start his own business. Good kid! See his review below.
Nour is a global keynote speaker on relationship economics and explains in this books and his speeches of the hidden assets of relationships and the art and science of investing in them. Nour is a native of Iran whose parents sent him to the United States to live with a relative in hopes for a better life. He had no fluency in English but went on to earn an Executive Master’s of Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management. Nour stresses the importance of building relationships.
What is networking and why bother? Networking is about engaging with others and building relationships. Effective networking is doing it strategically and getting it done. Social capital helps us function in everyday situations and can change your life. Effective networking is being prepared and having goals you want to reach. It can make a difference in your life and establishes a positive mindset. Become interested in others first to get what you want and be sure to connect with the right people. Be clear about your networking goals and make it happen. Build your tool set and turn it into results and put it all together. There is power in influence. Access and relationships with others helps us to get things done. We all utilize referrals for the right doctor, furniture, etc., which all come from personal influence.
Mr. Nour is big on establishing a networking mindset. Networking can make the process of looking for a job, growing a business, selling a business, finding tickets, etc., more fun and easier. It has to be something you do naturally without hesitation. If you decide to start exercising or eating right, utilizing networking can be fun and beneficial. It needs to become a part of what you do every day. Developing an effective networking mindset takes time. Effective networking can mean getting out of your comfort zone and maybe striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know. Life is too short to be in a job or relationship you don’t want to be in. Relief comes from taking action and a commitment to change the behavior and skills.
There can be obstacles to change to get to the right mindset. Fear is the biggest obstacle – fear of the unknown and what if. Getting out of your comfort zone isn’t always easy. There can be prejudice – some won’t talk to other co-workers based on their different titles or degrees. Interacting with as many different people as possible builds relationships and opportunities. Maybe you think you’re too busy and have no time to network to meet others. Others think they are not that interesting. This is not true as everyone can be a benefit to others. You may know more about something than the other person.
Overcome obstacles by starting slow and doing them in small doses. Attend events that you have something in common with others. Or go with another person. Or volunteer in something you enjoy. Networking skills are like a muscle – the more you use them the better your skill. Build relationships every day as you never know who you’re missing out on meeting. If you don’t engage people you could be missing out on great opportunities. Relationships are not completely exclusive. Don’t exclude people because they are in one part of your life. They could be gateways into other relationships. Get curious about another person, ask questions and get inquisitive. Developing this mindset takes time but will be well worth it. Do your due diligence, spend time wisely and be more structured. Add value to every interaction and build relationships. Networkers consist of givers, takers or investors. Investors build, nurture and leverage relationships and understand reciprocity. You have to give in order to get. Bridge your relationships with relationship currency – knowledge of personal, functional and strategic networking.
Deposit early and often. Share your knowledge or talent and take time for influential relationships. Show someone how to do something when you have the knowledge or talent and make it a regular habit to do so, which will support you in building relationships. Passing on your knowledge and talents is an easy way to deposit in key networks you care about. Take time from your busy schedule and reach out to someone. Deposits of time are investments of your time. Influential relationships can generate valuable contacts. Make it a habit to build off of these relationships by introducing those contacts to others. Establishing the mindset of living like an effective networker, making deposits will become second nature. Those deposits made have very little to do with what you do for a living. Try to invest in one person every week even though it can take discipline. Finding the practice to do so will add value to others’ lives. It will help to strengthen your networking mindset and adds to your relationship balance sheet. No matter what your job, you can find a way to be an asset to others.
The hubs and spokes of effective networking. Accelerate your networking with the right people. Become a valued central hub for pivotal contacts and have the mindset of an effective worker. Search for people and gather with all types of people who you can share information. Make it never about the meal or expense but about the process of building a reputation as a connector. Learn to access existing hubs and identify those most relevant to your issues. Use the internet to search for blogs most relevant to your topic. Do your homework for opportunities to meet and become an asset to someone. Be a networking investigator and find out where they are from, where did they go to school, what organizations and boards they are on, etc. Learning this information is a great way to open an ongoing and fruitful relationship.
Leverage your current relationships by building and nurturing the relationships you already know. Share your goals and objectives with those you trust and respect. Hubs know other hubs and connect with those with similar goals. Capture as much information as you can about their goals or specialty. Attempt to touch base with new relationships four times over a period of a couple of months to get their attention. Put yourself in the right place at the right time and have a plan. Find out what audience will be there and use discretion. Start your networking with the right people who will help you reach your goals. A mentor is always a good choice. Find a mentor within your line of work for assistance and insights. Add value to a mentor relationship by taking them to lunch.
Get organized with purpose, goals and a plan. Effective networking involves getting organized to make your networking goals become a reality. Define what your networking purpose is to make sure you’re on the right track. Define what your goals are and what relationships do you need to meet your goals. Whether it’s a marathon or a better job, you need to build a relationship to get there. Write your networking goals down which reinforces you to achieve them. Keep your goals visible and break them down into small steps. Measure your goals objectively – realistic and doable. Break it down into small steps and put a plan together. Planning is the roadmap to success. Establish 30, 60 and 90 day plans to achieve your goals. Set short term, medium term and long term plans and add value to each plan. Building productive relationships leads to production and results. Being able to influence the conversation will allow you to influence the relationship.
Build your tool set by engaging with other people and contacts and turning those relationships into results. Effective networking mindset is when it becomes a major part of what you do. Practice and establish good communication skills, both written and verbal. Utilize technology. These skills will help set you above others. Tool set is critical to building effective networking. Practice your elevator pitch, practice what’s the most powerful statement you can make. In 30 seconds, most people make up their mind how they feel about a person so the elevator pitch must be a powerful first impression. If powerful, people are intrigued and will want to hear more. Verbal communication is also a great way to connect with valuable people. Make it easy for people to introduce you. Provide a paragraph of who you are and what you do to avoid an introduction to chance. Keep it personal and professional. Keep a goal to engage with others to diversity and expand your personal and professional relationships. Technology is a productive tool but can also create a greater divide than picking up the phone or meeting with them in person.
Clean up your database, keep it updated and organized. Everyone is busy so focus your energy on those people you need to keep in contact with. Make an effort to engage and reconnect with contacts and friends. Take control of business cards. Utilize a tracking strategy. Scribble down on the back of the card your interaction with a contact so you can remember who they are and note any action items.
Social networking gives people the ability to connect with those they know or want to know. When used effectively, social networking provides great tools to help create access, opportunities, and jobs. These sites are changing the basic tenants of business to business interactions. Get the most out of them by building an online profile of your background, download the tools into an email system and upload your contacts and invite people you know to join your social network. The power of social networking provides diversity of your network and opportunity. Technology can be a great tool but don’t let it define your network. Tools should be seen as enablers or enhancers to those relationships and not its core.
Put it all together by turning relationships into results. Building a great relationship is half the challenge. Make sure your efforts are real forward motions. When faced with challenges, ask who, what are your trying to do, who do you need, who do you know or how can you do it in a consistent progress. Who or what can you leverage throughout your challenge? Can you make it with your current toolbox or do you to crank up the networking machine and expand your contacts.
Effective networking creates a more systematic process. Invest in relationships for an extraordinary return. Accelerate your goals and build relationships you need and those you have. Ask who and what and discover how to achieve those goals and objectives. What are you prepared to do to take action, how are you willing to improve your behavior, to get beyond the bitter to simply get better. Success depends on the diversity and quality of the relationships. Effective networking is necessary to invest in people for extraordinary return, exchanging relationship currency, accumulating reputation capital and building a professional net worth. Effective networking is learning the art and science of relationships to drive performance, execution and results in a systematic and disciplined manner.