Networking Secrets for People Who Don't Like to Network

Dina Giolitto

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So you're not a networker, huh? Well, neither am I. But “studies show" that if you're an internet marketer, online networking is not optional. . . it's mandatory.

If you're like me, you balk at the thought of being thrown to the networking big dogs. So many personalities, so many opinions. . . so many opportunities to put your foot in your mouth.

I recently stumbled upon a networking strategy that works. Start your own network.

Why is this so much better than just floating along on other people's networks?

Because if the network is yours, you'll always be on your best behavior.

I'm not saying that you'd walk around acting like a jerk otherwise. But, If the network is yours, you OWN it. So now that you're in full possession of such a complicated thing as a discussion forum, you must work toward keeping that network alive and running. This takes commitment. Starting your own network means making a promise to yourself that the project will be a success.

Because you can assume the role of attractor instead of aggressor.

If you go to other people's networks, you must pursue business contacts by fitting your scheme into another person's mold. If it's your own network, you can lure people in who already have an interest in your subjectmatter. This is similar to having your own website (which you should also have, if you’re interested in networking). For those who don't care for the forceful approach, this is a great way to build interest in your business services slowly and without putting pressure on people.

Because you're in control.

It's your network, and you set the rules. People who appreciate the rules as well as the tone you set, will participate with enthusiasm. If they don't care for how you run the show, they're free to leave. If you envision your network as a round table discussion, you can create that environment. If you see it as an information exchange, you can start by posting articles that you research. Others who feel aligned with your mission will add to the patchwork.

Because it's a great way to develop your leadership skills.

Maybe you're thinking about starting your own company but feel a little shaky about leading people. When you run your own network, you're thrown into the leadership position by default. Having your own network is a way to put those skills to the test. Pay close attention to how people react to your suggestions. Watch the dynamics unfold. People treat people who are in charge much differently than they do outsiders or those who they consider “underlings. " What can you learn from this?

Because it's a great way to make friends in a setting that you love.

You WILL make new friends if you start your own network. You will get to know people that you didn't know before. You will learn things about people that you never realized, because of your ongoing dedication to what I'll refer to as “the organization. ” In being humbled by the challenge of running your network, you will feel grateful for the people who support you, and in turn you'll want to give back to them.

Because it forces you to go deeper.

If you think you know a lot about something, you’ll learn even more once you start a network. Folks will ask you questions and regard you as an expert, and you must provide evidence to support that label. Sometimes people will ask you questions that you don’t have the answers to, and you’ll be forced to probe deeper and explore side avenues. If you ever wanted to be an officionado, starting a network is the way to do it.

Clearly, you can't lead a network on a subject that you don't know much about. So choose a topic that's dear to your heart, that you're well-familiar with. Select a true passion of yours, and the people who surface on your network will share that passion. They will become your allies, friends, and you will grow bonds based on your shared interest.

Pretty soon you’ll look around, and realize that you’ve achieved what was once so elusive. You will figure out that despite the fact that you “hate networking" - you now have your own network.

Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

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