"It's not what you know, it's who you know," the old saying goes. And that's the
basis of networking. . .making contacts that will help you in your
professional career, now and for many years to come.
"The people you know and the referrals from them are the most valuable marketing techniques available," says Becky Mangus, president of Mangus & Associates Communications and a partner in Marketing Solutions Unlimited in Ellicott City. "And also among the least expensive." So important is networking to "growing" a career, that the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce has sponsored workshops on the subject, led by Carla Lee, sales manager for R.L. Cook & Associates, Inc., local licensee of Dale Carnegie Training in Timonium. As part of your networking effort, Ms. Lee recommends that you start off by reading the following books: How To Work A Room, by Susan Roane; Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty, by Harvey McKay; and, of course, How To Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, since "people skills are an essential part of networking," says Ms. Lee.
When attending a professional event, Ms. Lee recommends these "fundamentals of networking":
Indeed, follow-up is almost as important as networking, says Ms. Mangus; in fact, it should be considered part of the networking process. After meeting a contact and writing the date, event, and any pertinent information on the back of the other person's business card, follow these tips, says Ms. Mangus: *Write a "great to meet you" letter to all the people you meet and/or make a personal phone call. *Reach out. . .try at least once a month to contact old acquaintances and friends and plan to meet for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even just for a cup of coffee. Then call one of the people you have just met and invite him or her out as well. *Mind your manners. When calling someone, ask if it's a good time to talk. Don't forget to thank everyone who has given you a lead with a quick phone call, or a brief handwritten note. As always, there are some DON'Ts you should keep in mind as well, says Ms. Mangus. "These can be real 'turn-offs.'"
Written By: Carol Sorgen
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