Fourth dimension of networking – Making it happen (Part 3)

I have shared knowledge about the ‘What’ of my 4D networking practice. This post outlines the details of ‘How’ by answering the question: What enables a savvy 4D networker?

Below is a set of three lists: Practices I do, Tools I use, Mindsets I hold. I encourage you to reflect on these and prepare your own lists.

Practices

This is a list of things I do with my ‘Networking’ time.

  • Connect only with 3D or 4D contacts in visible online databases (i.e. LinkedIn)
  • 3D & 4D networking, based on my own 4D criteria
  • Act thoughtfully and purposefully
  • Ask individuals: How can I help you? What is your passion or interest?
  • Think proactively: How can I help this person? (Do 4D activities); Who can I connect this person with? (e.g. Utilise my trusted contacts)
  • Endorse or recommend people without prompting
  • Ask for assistance to meet new people
  • Treasure chestFollow-up after meetings to give something meaningful, show appreciation, or spread the word/tell others
  • Catalyse discussions (online or in person) with interesting questions
  • Being active participant in an Professional Association or Community of Practice
  • Schedule and honour regular networking time/activity
  • Use digital calendar to manage availability and issue shared calendar entries for meetings
  • Keep a record of my contacts and my engagement with them (contact details, personal details, my reflections on initial meeting with them, suggestions for how I can assist them or connect more meaningfully, email correspondence).
  • Keep current records so I can do summary reports/analysis about breadth & depth of my activity over time, e.g. who I saw, how many people I meet, number of contacts in my databases, and evaluate performance
  • Adapt: Review what’s working or not working and do something again or differently
  • Learn from others lessons-learnt, e.g. Mistakes not to make using LinkedIn.
  • Consider: What presence will I show up with when meeting with someone?
  • Implement 4C’s filter: give varying degrees of attention to interact with individuals or groups
  • Observe or imagine what others might value; scan/seek for items and opportunities to share with others
  • Write on back of business cards and noting person’s interests & preferences immediately after meeting someone. (This later gets transferred to digital records.)
  • Tagging/classifying people into meaningful groups for interaction – makes it easier to execute contact with collections of people.
  • Capture valuable information so I can act quickly to share something of value (see Notebook lists under Tools below)
  • Prepare or acquire micro-blog (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn update) content I can publish quickly and constantly
  • Do regular micro-blogging to share and mobilise useful or inspiring knowledge

Tools

This is the set of tool I use that enables the practices listed above.

  • Contacts database (online = e.g. LinkedIn; offline = e.g. Outlook Contacts – I have both because approx 10% of my contacts are not LinkedIn members)
  • Tagging schema to organise contacts in my databases
  • Linking micro-blog posting across online platforms, i.e. LinkedIn feeds to Twitter feeds to Facebook
  • Sample text for replying to various message correspondence scenarios, e.g. LinkedIn member who I don’t know (i.e. not 3D or 4D contact) invites me to connect with them
  • Social media professional profiles with connections so others can learn about me and my network (e.g. LinkedIn – Basic is sufficient, Basic is free; Twitter; Facebook)
  • Bio copy prepared for various audiences
  • High quality professional colour digital photograph
  • Links in email signature of available methods to contact me
  • List of my interests, specialities and passions that I can share
  • Notebook entries of useful lists: Quotes, recommendations, insights, suggestions, humour, random acts of kindness to do
  • Notebook entries with potential & finalised micro-blog content I can publish
  • Artefacts/methods to send a surprising delightful message: Quality cards, or notepaper. I also use origami paper made into objects, and handwritten emails using inking on tablet laptop.

Mindsets

These ideas I hold to guide my networking and professional practice. They underpin the practices listed above.

  • It’s better to give than to receive.
  • Pay it forward.
  • For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
  • Be prudent and purposeful with resources
  • Don’t enable the waste or potential of talent.
  • Its okay to say No. It’s okay to stop.
  • Its okay to ask.
  • Respect others time and energy.
  • Honour my own boundaries and limits.
  • Aim for effective not efficient activity.
  • Leave something better than you found it.
  • Its not what I do or say but how I make people feel.
  • Make the first approach, take the first step.
  • Show up.
  • Mean what I say, say what I mean.
  • Honour my word and commitments.

May you find meaningful ways to perform better in professional networking.
Please share with me your ways and means!

Helen Palmer is Principal Consultant at RHX GroupHelen likes to experiment and create conceptual frameworks to use in making sense of human activity. She thinks critically about knowledge work and how to ensure knowledge isn’t wasted. She revels in tackling the big processes of change, learning and knowing so that ideas become impact. With her colleagues at RHX Group, Helen helps teams make better use of their people, knowledge and information.

Image credit: iStockphoto

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