Find Cynthia Ravinski at her Blog www.cynthiaravinski.com
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And twitter @CynthiaRavinski
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Please welcome Cynthia Ravinski, who's touring the Blog-o-sphere via the Magic Appreciation Tour with her new emotobook, Lingering In The Woods. In case you're unfamiliar with emotobooks, visit this link for more info: http://gritcitypublications.com/Grit_City_Publications/Emotobooks.html
She's written a very down-to-earth and practical article about something any career-minded person needs, but often shies away from. Read on!
Networking is not a Dirty Word
Being good at networking doesn’t have to mean being the biggest, loudest person at the party. When I figured this out, I took a look at why I hated that word so much and then at how I’d made it work for me without even knowing it.
We had a motivational speaker come to my high school. He was on a book tour, and I couldn’t even tell you the title. This poor guy had the luck of going to high schools to teach kids what he knew about how to be successful.
To sum up that horrible presentation in one word: Networking. He talked for an hour or so about how to network, and this was before the year 2000.
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He wasn’t very motivational to me. I left the school auditorium that day feeling like I had no chance. I knew I couldn’t be like that. I even tried to read his book. Just more blather. I was depressed for a week. His way was not how I would be successful. But then, how could I be successful?
I had to go to college soon and make all those decisions about my future. Blah blah blah. It was terrifying then. But somehow I forced my way through it, doing what worked for me to get into courses, study abroad programs, internships and yes, even a good dorm room one winter semester.
It turns out that I am really good at networking. I’d never have gotten to where I am without it. So maybe it really is important. No, I don’t have the hugest network. But I develop good relationships with the people that I do know. Make a point to keep in touch and scratch backs in return. And I think that was what that presenter was really getting at. One day, someone will need you to get in touch with them just as much as you need to get their attention. And just like that, both of you are in a much better place. It’s happened to me countless times now. All I had to do was swallow and hit send, or pick up the phone. It certainly was never as horrible as I thought it would be.
You don’t have to have the biggest network, but take care of the one you have and it will grow in the right direction. That’s what it’s all about in the end, not knowing all the people, but knowing the right people well enough to stay in touch. And by “right” people I don’t mean the CEO of every company out there, but the people that you connect with. Don’t waste your time on people with whom you share no common ground--doesn’t that just feel awkward all around? That’s not what we’re looking for.
As I begin to take social networking seriously, not too seriously I hope, I’m going to try to keep this in mind.
Have any great networking tools or strategies? Please share them in the comments!