Networking on Purpose
Networking on Purpose is an easy and quick read on Beth Bridges’ Five Part Networking Success Plan™ and the steps she’s used over 10 years to develop an incredible network. The approach in the book covers the elements needed to build your own powerful network. She wastes no time diving into 5 parts and covers them thoroughly and succinctly. After having attended over 2,500 networking events in the past 10 years, Beth is extremely qualified to speak on the best practices of networking.
We HIGHLY recommend buying Beth’s book and diving into all the details for yourself! You can get yourself a copy of the book on Amazon here and start Networking on Purpose today!
- The purpose of networking is to put yourself in a position to give and receive value.
- Networking on Purpose is the on-going process of building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships through the sharing of ideas, information, resources, and experiences.
- It’s a process. You can’t network once and be done.
- Networking works best with long-term relationships.
- Networking is NOT selling.
The Five-Part Success Plan™
The five part success plan is straight forward and easy to understand. The 5 parts are:
- Belive in
- Go Places
- Meet People
- Stay Connected
- Give Value
Your ability to network and develop deep and strong relationships is paramount to your success as a business individual. It is the single most powerful personal branding and business development tool that you have.
- Believe in your ability to act.
- You don’t have to believe in the benefits to begin with, you just have to act.
- Do Not believe
- You have to get over your fears to start.
- Only extroverts are good at networking.
- You will get sales at networking events.
- Benefits of networking include: Information, Ideas, Resources, Marketing, Reputation, Social Capital, Referrals, and lastly Sales.
From our research and findings, most people know that they need to build good relationships, but apathy gets in the way. Beth really brings you in and lets you know that you can actually build a fantastic network of people before seeing the benefits.
As Beth says, “You wouldn’t buy a tomato seedling, plant it in the ground, and then tell it, ‘You’ll get water as soon as I get tomatoes!’”.
Beth then breaks down several myths of networking and help provide the motivation to start your network. You need a reason to start networking and your reason needs to emotion based.
She gives a great format: “I want to , so that (or to have) because . ”
An example is “I want to expand my contacts so that I have a safety net because I always want to be able to provide for my family.”
That is an emotional based reason for networking and will give you the motivation necessary to put in the work in building a community for yourself.
You simply have to get out of your comfort zone and go places. You have to diversify the places you go and reach out to new groups of people in order to maximize the serendipity of meeting new people.
- The best places to start include:
- Chamber of Commerce
- Service Organizations
- Local Independent Groups
- Utilize Social Media but make sure to still get out of the house!
- Paid networking events attract more serious individuals and can add more value to your network.
This is definitely a key part of building your network. It can be all too easy to sit behind a computer and send emails back and forth, but you will find it difficult to build deep relationships this way.
We personally try our best to attend conferences, local events, and attend Chamber of Commerce events. This is where you’ll definitely find like-minded business professionals willing to invest in you and your business.
Beth defines a networking event as “any activity where two or more people come together to build business relationships.”
This gives you a very broad area to define how you network. Beth recommends investing in “coffee futures”, or simply buying coffee for someone, is a “paid networking event with low cost and high returns.” This is something that we do on a very frequent basis because it’s easy to do and let’s you have a casual open conversation with limited distractions.
Beth gives several additional suggestions for places to go and ways to “Go Places” that can fit anyone’s needs.
It’s not enough to simply get out of the house if you never meet any new people. It’s too easy to show up to an event, stick with the people you know, and then leave without meeting anyone new.
- Network with like-minded people.
- Introduce yourself by letter or email.
- Save the elevator pitch for group introduction.
- Learn how to mingle and make small talk.
- Listen more… A lot more.
Beth tells the story of James Malinchak. “James once traveld to an international conference to meet just on person. It was a huge investment in time and money, but James knew that the value of the potential connection was worth the trip. The man he went to meet couldn’t believe someone would travel that far to just shake his hand and say “hello.” They ended up having dinner that night and working together later. ”
It’s a phenomenal example of how you can get to meet someone. Now you obviously don’t have to travel across the country, but how you can do little things to impress and meet new people?
Now, meeting people is just as much an art as it is a science. Having good manners, showing proper etiquette, demonstrating open body language, making meaningful small talk, handling business cards appropriately, and more are the elements that can make or break meeting people. Beth dives into all of those elements and really covers the majority of topics you could need while networking.
Our biggest take away is listening. That is actually the most important part of small talk. We have to remember to take the time to listen to the person right in front of us in order to really make a connection with that individual.
Regular interaction with people is required if you want to stay top of mind with people. You need to make deliberate effort to stay connected with individuals. While it may be difficult to reach everyone, you can take a little time each day to contact and reach out to people.
- Stay in touch one at a time.
- Be seen in public and take leadership roles in activities.
- Leverage available technology.
- “The best way to stay connected is to build a better connection in the first place.”
“If you stay connected, you’ll be in the top 10% of all networkers.” – Beth Bridges
Staying connected is probably the most difficult aspect of networking. This is actually one of the reasons that we created Ryze.
There are dozens of ways of staying in touch with people. It really just takes a few minutes to reach out to connect with that person. A 5 minute phone call is enough to keep the connection alive.
We suggest either using some sort of technology, like Ryze, or even just creating a simple spreadsheet and setting reminders on google calendar. You absolutely need to be thinking of how you can engage with the people in your network.
Beth suggests that you can sign up together and volunteer, go to fundraising events, play golf, or even attend church together.
One of the things we do here at Ryze is this blog. This is an excellent way of creating content, showing your expertise, and staying top of mind with people in your network, especially if it relates to them.
Giving value is central to making your networking efforts successful. Even if you do all of the above, but provide no additional value to the people in your network, then you are defeating all of your effort. You absolutely give before you get. You need to share and provide your expertise. These are the things that get people to trust you and see you as a valuable asset to other people’s network.
- Become a curator.
- Share your expertise and ideas.
- Give your time, talent, and treasures.
- Give an experience.
Giving value is what holds all of your networking efforts together. No matter who you talk to, everyone will tell you that you have to give before you can expect to receive.
We wrote about giving value in our blog post How To Build A Strong Professional Network, and suggested similar ways to Beth on how you can provide value to the people in your network.
This can include giving your feedback on things they’ve worked on, your time to help them out, sharing your expertise and knowledge, and even sharing the connections within your network.
Beth makes it very clear that you need to provide value to the people in your network and gives plenty of suggestions on what you can do in order to provide value. If you concentrate on the top 50 to 100 people in your network, you can focus your value on them and really maximize the relationship.
Summary and Last Thoughts
Networking on Purpose is very easy to implement and gives the right steps to start building your network today. There are dozens of examples, additional tips, and easily implementable points throughout the book. Beth makes starting, building, and maintaining your network very succinct. It is definitely worth picking up a copy and diving into the examples that she provides from her over ten years of experience.
Beth has additional resources in order to maximize the value of your networking efforts that can be found at The Networking Motivator.com