In business and in your job search, networking is your key to success. If you are currently unemployed, the chances are greater that your next job will come through networking than any other source. Joe Takash, author of Results Through Relationships: Building Trust, Performance and Profit Through People, offers the following eight simple tools that anyone can use to develop the skills necessary to become an effective networker. Marvin Walberg, Scripps Howard News Service
1Make a great first impression: Every time you meet someone, think "SHE is the key." S.H.E. stands for Smile/Handshake/Eye Contact. Set a positive tone and make the best first impression you can.
2Be a name-learning machine. There is no better way to make others feel good about themselves and have a positive impression of you. Repeat their name three times for memory.
3Ask open-ended questions: Get people to open up to you. They'll be very impressed with your interest in them.
Tell me about your job.
What are your most important responsibilities?
What do you like most about what you do?
Do you have children?
What do you like to do in your free time?
4Master the art of listening. Great leaders and great interviewees know how to actively listen. Avoid the "don'ts" of listening — rehearsing what you want to say next, finishing people's sentences and interrupting.
5Establish common ground. A common shared interest plants the most important seed for all relationships.
6Help others before yourself. Don't be selfish and project that you are only in it for yourself.
7Describe how what you do helps others. Regardless of your profession, people want to know how what you do benefits others.
8Follow up and work your network. After a networking event or opportunity, record the new information you have acquired, send thank-you notes and mark your calendar to remind you to touch base with your new network contacts.
Check local churches, synagogues and chambers of commerce for scheduled networking meetings in your area and use the Internet for company and industry information. Do homework, research and network every day with everyone you know and every new contact you meet. It will take you directly to your next job.
Visit www.JoeTakash.com for more information.
Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach.