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Make your networking work for YOU

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Make your networking work for YOU

Often, when we attend networking events, we have an idea of what we want to get out of them: great contacts that will be of use to us, and a long list of new leads. We attend business breakfasts and industry events armed with business cards, ready to spring a sales pitch on the first poor soul who shows any interest. Of course, the reality is often different from what we’d imagined and we are disappointed when big things don’t seem to come out of these events.


The problem with this is the approach that many of us take: “what’s in it for me?” In fact, I would go so far as saying that when we network selfishly, we’re actually setting ourselves up for failure.


Consider for a moment one of the world’s biggest word of mouth referral organisations, BNI. This networking body has achieved such a level of success because the focus of its members is on how they can refer each other to useful contacts. Each member tries to put other members in touch with people who can benefit from their business services or products. Instead of asking “What’s in it for me?” they ask, “Who in my network could benefit from this person’s services?”


If you’re like most people, when you’re attending a networking function and someone introduces themselves, you probably don’t immediately think about whether there are opportunities for them to benefit from your network, even if you don't have a particular need for their product or service yourself. Successful networkers are people who try to think more about others.


Read the book review for this contributors book Branding & Marketing YOU! - click here.


Don’t feel guilty if you have always thought of what you can get out of a networking event. You are not alone. In fact, research suggests that people think about themselves and their own needs 95% of the time. It’s not a natural state to spend the majority of our time thinking about what we can do for other people. But this means that even if you start thinking of other people 6% of the time (instead of 5%), you will be at an advantage over other people.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:44
Donna Rachelson

Donna Rachelson

Donna Rachelson is a branding and marketing advisor who works with people and teams in professional service based businesses.


She has held a number of Marketing Director positions in blue-chip organisations including Nando's and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, as well as marketing management positions at Standard Bank and AECI.


Donna is driven to empower people through incorporating branding, marketing and business development into all aspects of their work. She has a solid business education, including an MBA, and is currently a guest lecturer at GIBS.


She is also author of the best-selling book Branding & Marketing YOU, the first South African based personal branding and marketing book.


Donna is CEO of Branding & Marketing YOU, a company that helps people and teams to brand and market themselves, and develop their business in innovative and impactful ways. The company has trained and coached many people across more than 20 blue-chip clients, including Microsoft, Discovery, Standard Bank, Nedbank and Basil Read. The companies that have embraced the concepts are seeing real results and a definite return on investment for their employees, both personally and business-wise.


Donna is a dedicated wife and mother and in her spare time assists charity and NGO organisations to market themselves effectively.


Her motto that drives her is ‘making a marketing difference every day.


For more tips on personal branding and marketing, visit her website.

Website: www.brandingandmarketingyou.com

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