I want to shed some light on the power of networking and its significance in fostering meaningful connections within the writing community and beyond. Networking is an invaluable tool for authors, allowing them to expand their horizons, exchange ideas, and establish mutually beneficial relationships. Network connections are not your potential customers. If you approach everyone the same way, with a sales pitch to buy your product or service, you could miss out on valuable opportunities that could move you forward in leaps and bounds. The approach has to be right though.
I’ve compiled a short list of networking do’s and don’ts in an effort to help others differentiate between a person they are looking to build a networking relationship with and someone they just want to become their customer, and modify the approaches for each one. Especially with more networking sites popping up all over the place. These sites are not intended to be a place to gain customers from.
The Dos of Networking:
1) Be Genuine and Approachable: Authenticity is the key to successful networking. Be genuine in your interactions, showing sincere interest in others’ work and experiences. Approach conversations with a positive attitude and an open mind, making yourself approachable and fostering a friendly atmosphere.
2) Be a Good Listener: Networking is not just about promoting yourself; it’s about building relationships. Be an attentive listener, giving others the space to share their insights and experiences. Show genuine interest in their stories and ideas, and you’ll find that people are more willing to engage with you.
3) Offer Value: Provide value to your connections by sharing useful resources, offering support, and showcasing your expertise. Networking is a two-way street, and by being helpful and supportive, you create a strong foundation for lasting relationships.
4) Follow Up and Stay Connected: After networking events or meetings, remember to follow up with new connections promptly. Send a personalized email expressing your gratitude for the interaction and expressing your interest in staying connected. Nurturing these connections over time will yield fruitful results.
The Don’ts of Networking:
1) Avoid Being Overly Transactional: Networking should be about building relationships, not just seeking immediate benefits. Avoid being overly transactional, like asking for favors without building rapport first. Be patient and invest time in cultivating genuine connections.
2) Don’t Be Pushy or Overbearing: Respect personal boundaries and avoid being pushy or overbearing in your networking efforts. Allow relationships to develop naturally and avoid bombarding people with excessive messages or requests.
3) Steer Clear of Negative Behavior: Negative behavior, such as bad-mouthing others or constantly complaining, can quickly damage your reputation in the writing community. Instead, focus on promoting positivity and fostering a supportive environment for all.
Knowing Your Networking Purpose:
1) Define Your Goals: Before reaching out to potential connections, define your networking goals. Are you seeking critique partners, professional advice, or collaborative opportunities? Knowing your purpose will guide your interactions and help you target the right individuals.
2) Target Relevant Connections: Be intentional in choosing whom you network with. Seek connections that align with your goals and values. Building relationships with individuals who share your interests will result in more meaningful and productive interactions.
3) Be Respectful of Their Time: When reaching out to potential connections, be respectful of their time and commitments. Craft concise and personalized messages that clearly communicate your purpose without being intrusive.
Networking is a powerful tool for authors, providing a gateway to valuable opportunities and connections. By following the dos and don’ts of networking, you can build meaningful and lasting relationships. Remember the importance of knowing your networking purpose and be intentional in selecting connections that align with your goals. Embrace networking as a collaborative and enriching experience, and watch as your writing journey thrives through the power of genuine connections.
Happy Growing! <3