Are You Networking More and Enjoying It Less?
Anyone in social media can tell you the power of networking for individuals and businesses. Social networks can fuel personal growth and business development.
From Linkedin and Facebook to Twitter and Ning, the quality social networks that we build can guide us, protect us, and help us stay our course … if we let them know how.
We have the networks already or already started. Now we need to engage in open, equal, and active relationships that move us all toward success.
5 Doorways to the Power of Social Networks
One bane of small and solo business is the isolation that can be part of our business life. We can hire lawyers and accountants, trainers and guides, marketers and sales folks … well, maybe not all at one time. Even if we can outsource in every direction, we need to know that what folks are suggesting is right.
We’re building communities and networks that have the experience and expertise we need. The key is to get our networks working with us. Here are 5 ways to do just that.
- Listen for doorways being opened.
Rather than trying to pry new doors open, find the doors that people are holding open for you. Social media folks and great networkers are always opening doors. We ask what they need or what they they’re working on. Sometimes it’s a simple, “How’s business?” Sometimes it’s a more direct, “What can I do for you?” Once I started listening for open doors, I realized folks were opening doors for me every day.
- Value compliments.
Compliments are a way that people reach out in good faith. Accepting a compliment elevates you and your relationship with the person who gave it. You show that you value the giver and the information. Compliments open doorways to find out what people perceive as your strengths. Think about them dispassionately. Be sure you know what a compliment means. Follow up later to ask if you don’t.
- Talk about what you’re doing.
Listen first, but let people know your quest. Open a doorway to let people know what you’re doing, especially what you’re trying for the first time. This week I’ve told everyone about my goal for 2009 — to find ways to get people working again. I’m glad and grateful that Gail jumped in with both feet to help. I might never have know that she had something similar on her mind.
- Ask for help.
Be a learner not a hunter. Open multiple doorways for people to let people see you learn. Most people rise to an occasion to help. Invite your network to be teachers, removed from the role of potential clients. When we start with “Would you help? My ideal client would look a lot like you, would you have five minutes to offer me advice?”
- Turn interest into a way to invest.
When someone likes your work, offer a doorway to a partnership. Sit on the same side of the table and enlist that client or friend in your quest. Too often we see ourselves as “less.” Yet, that person has something to teach us and we have something to offer in return. Ask about his or her goals and find how they align with yours. Use what you learn to follow Steve Farber’s advice. “Do what you love in service to the people who love what you do.”
We’ve invested in the network of people we call friends and colleagues — the people we respect and are happy to help. Why wouldn’t we offer them doorways to do the same?
How do you open doorways to enlist the power of your network? How else might we engage them in open, equal, and active relationships so that our barns and bridges are well built and successful?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you think Liz can help you find focus or direction, check out the Work with Liz!!
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Steve Olson says
That is one of the benefits to having a corporate job (like me). I get to go out to lunch everyday with a group of friends. My wife who runs our homebased bookselling business does suffer some social isolation and having only the company of small children doesn’t always help. Great post Liz.
Teresa Morrow says
These are truly wonderful reminders to all of us to realize the power of the open doorways.
It is important to be giving and open those doorways for others. And then when a doorway is open for us….to say thank you. Embrace the blessings that are given to us and send out blessings to others when and where we can.
I like your point about asking for help…I believe that too many people think it is a sign of weakness to ask for help when actually it is a sign of strength.
Thanks as always Liz for providing a great post!
ME Liz Strauss says
We don’t realize how much we relay on our social networks until we don’t have, but likewise we don’t give them enough opportunities either.
Imagine if we did. 🙂
ME Liz Strauss says
Asking for help takes knowing what kind of help we need. That’s often the biggest point that gets us stuck. We keep moving forward without assessing what we have and what’s missing. 🙂
Richard Reeve says
The ability to know doors are or will open is crucial. I tend to knock no more than three occasions In old European monastaries, the porter was told ony to admit unannounced guests if they persisted to return for a third time. I’ve also had to learn to accept the doors that do not open to me and move on. That attitude has been vital to my development in social media.
(Honor the compliment major as well…)
All good points.When you open your doorway, you are inviting others to your area of interest. Social networks are the best place to share and take knowledge. They provide you unlimited opportunities.
ME Liz Strauss says
The more time I spend on social networks the more I realize they’re about opening doors for each other.
Thanks for taking time to add your thoughts. 🙂