Posted on April 2, 2010. Filed under: Books, Branding, Business, Career, Field Guides, Life, Network, Pocket-Books, Recruitment, Self-Help, Social Skills |

If you’re a resident of Chicago like I am, you will be the first to understand why this blog entry has been delayed by a week.  What a week, indeed.  We’ve been enjoying some unseasonably warm temperatures and I, for one, love it.  If there’s one thing that teaches us Chicagoans about seizing opportunity when it knocks, it’s great weather that arrives unexpectedly after a bitter cold winter.  Applied to business, it is knowing when to the tide seems to be turning in your direction and being poised to make the most of it.

Effective networking for business allows us to make our friends before we need them. It allows us to begin to lay the groundwork for the key business relationships that will act as conduits of information: leads, research, teaming strategies, potential obstacles, and potential allies.  By learning how to better connect to the people you need to know you will not only make yourself a more effective team player, but your will endear yourself to your employer that much more than someone who simply sits back and waits for the work to float magically through the front door.

Perhaps the biggest mistake that businesses make, regardless of their size, is to maintain the misguided impression that they do not need to market.  Thinking that your brand will continue to be recognizable in your industry because orders are up and the firm is working near capacity.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Studies have shown over the years that it takes five times the effort to acquire a client as it does to keep one.  Five times the effort!  Clients will expand your market share through referrals if they are happy, but take them for granted and they will tell a different tale.  Therefore, even if your firm boasts a host of clients it is imperative that you continue to market to them.  Networking is an essential component to maintaining quality client relationships.

More is to be gained by continuing to learn about your clients interests.  Networking allows you to stay abreast of developments occurring with both of your firms.  Networking allows you to expand your level of services (e.g. market) by providing a bird’s-eye view into the needs and desires of your existing clients in addition to offering clues to how to connect to new clients.  The idea of best practices stems from the exchanges of information that identify key processes that offer proven results again and again.  Networking allows you to sift through the ideological rhetoric of a given industry and get down to the essence of what a firm really needs.  Such information cannot be gleaned from sitting on the sidelines, you have to step up.

With the seasons changing, there is a perfect opportunity for you to take stock of what processes and procedures have been working for you both in and out of the office.  Take a good honest look at yourself and ask what is it that you think is making you successful, and do not be afraid to address the things that do not.  I have written THE NETWORKING FIELD GUIDE™: Essential Social Skills for Business for myself too.  It enables me to follow my own advice and reevaluate my own strengths and weaknesses.  We may never be perfect, but each year that the sun emerges from behind the clouds, melts the snow, allows the trees to bud, and the flowers to bloom we all receive the gift of the chance to begin anew.  It is up to us to seize the opportunity.

Before signing off, I would like to thank a few members of my network.  First, to the local office of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), for providing me with the opportunity to lead a Networking Workshop at the Kauffer Members Resource Center.  We had a dynamic group of people who seemed to gain a lot from our exchange.  My network expanded and I am looking forward to their feedback as to how the techniques we discussed and tested that evening are working in their everyday pursuits of business relationships.  A special thank you to Linda Swenson for her efforts in publicizing and organizing the event.

Next, I would like to express my gratitude to the ACE Mentor Program Chicago for a terrific program whereby young high school students interested in architecture, engineering a construction services teamed with local companies to create the design projects that were presented at the UIC Pavilion last week.  Many of these students will be the first in their families to attend a four-year college.  ACE Chicago has provided over $500,000 in scholarships to support the ongoing dreams of many of these students to become future architects, engineers and project managers.  Congratulations to those students who received internships with local companies and to the students awarded scholarships this year. [www.acementor.org/chicago]

Crain’s Chicago Business deserves a note of gratitude for their Seventh Annual Women Business Owners Tell All held on March 24th at Chicago’s Mid-America Club, sponsored by Harris Bank.  Crain’s Anchor and Reporter, Lisa Leiter moderated a panel of four dynamic business woman including Angelika Coghlan, President and Managing Partner, Catwalk Consulting (she is also the President of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners); and Chinwe Onyeagoro, Principal and Co-Founder, O-H Community Partners Ltd. (OHcp).  I learned about this event from one of my newest networking partners, Jeffrey Simon, a certified financial planner. Thank you, Jeffrey.

[Stay up to date about future events by visiting http://www.ccbevents@crain.com]

Finally, a special thank you to Candace Jordan.  You may have heard of Candace, she’s a force majeur.  One of the most generous people that I have had the privilege to know. Unbeknownst to me, Candace requested a bit of information about my pocket book, THE NETWORKING FIELD GUIDE™ and was nice enough to include a lovely mention of it in her blog, Candid Candace.  A thoughtful gesture to be sure.  Thank you, Candace.


Until next week, this is your Networking Field Guide reminding you to be well, be confident, and be yourself.

© Kathy Corday and The Networking Field Guide™, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kathy Corday and The Networking Field Guide ™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information visit http://www.thenetworkingfieldguide.com.

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