4 More Networking Rules: Successful Networking with Friends
There are standard Networking Rules that can be applied most of the time. But friends aren’t just anybody and they deserve some special attention. Consider using these rules with the most valuable people in your formal and informal networks and when doing personal networking with friends, family, and others who are close to you.
Do the work and reap the advantage of your relationships.
You will find network friends in all kinds of places and all the time if you are receptive. Be open to them and introduce them to your existing networks that would be appropriate and relevant to them.
When you are in business, you develop three levels of networks: personal networks, business networks, and association networks. You will be closest to your personal networks — friends, neighbors, and family members. The people you do business with are the second level — vendors, colleagues and peers. Your interests, values, and lifestyle give you an opportunity to find additional networking relationships in the associations you participate in — religious, political, sports, etc.
Take advantage in a good way of the friends you make.
Network friends bring other benefits. They give balance to your life. They provide perspective. They care about you when things are good and when they’re bad. Your parents may have taught you not to say anything if you don’t have something nice to say.
When times are tough, it is easier to cut yourself off. But that is a big mistake. Network friends want to be there for you and not be the last to know.
Keep them close and keep track of their needs as well.
These special personal, business and association friends can keep you from falling into holes and staying there. Trust them and give them a chance to help you. Misery may love company; friends love other friends. They know that at some time they may be on the receiving end of the balance and support you will give them.
There is “work” in Networking. You will have to sincerely want to know and remember their goals and needs. If you have a poor memory, record what they say someway — make a note; record the information on your smart phone, something. The worst thing that could happen is that you could bring up a touchy subject without understanding and being prepared for how they will react.
Use them as sounding boards and be their advisors.
Bottom line: they must be people you like and truly trust. These are your real network friends. Spend extra time to develop and nurture the right relationship with each one. Friends know you better than anyone — that’s why they are friends. And, you know them better than their colleagues and peers because you know their personal story as they know yours.
As their advisors, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask hard questions and give them tough answers. You may not be the expert in dealing with the issue they are concerned about but you can offer constructive ideas and ask other members of your network for their help or guidance that you can pass along. The result is that your friends, networks, and other Networking individuals comingle. That can be a very good thing.