Three Tips for Successful Networking

I generally shy away from using the word "networking" when it comes to our business. As professional "headhunters", we are constantly practicing and performing the art of networking in our daily operations. Many only consider the subject of networking when they are either seeking a new job or seeking new business opportunities. From our perspective, networking should be a daily event in your life. Networking is the art of building relationships that create benefit for yourself. Here are three tips to becoming a top notch "networker".

1. Develop an "Elevator Speech": The theory goes that if you were to get into an elevator with a key decision maker and they asked you what you did, you should be able to respond in a concise and articulate statement that would conclude before you reached the bottom floor. The elevator speech is a brief statement of both fact and "tease" meant to open up the potential for future discussions or business development. The elevator speech(s) should be well rehearsed and roll off your tongue as if it were second nature. Ideally, you should have a couple of different versions of your elevator speech. You should be able to tailor it depending on the group or individual you are speaking to. This is a must for the savvy networker.

2. Give first, expect second: Successful networking depends on the ability of both parties to see value in continuing the relationship. Value given first will generally be reciprocated. Understanding what you can bring to the table for the other person is critical here. Through careful listening you can begin to understand what others see as your value proposition. Take the initiative and volunteer advice, knowledge or other valuable information first, without being asked to do so. Once you have demonstrated that you can provide value, the other person or party will have reason and call to reciprocate. Giving first is a primary building block to successful networking.

3. Follow through and be consistent: Good networking relationships last the test of time. Why? Because both sides follow through with their commitments and remain dedicated to the relationship. A savvy networker understands that being able to "count" on someone is critical to the network. Knowing that the other person is there for you through thick and thin is a key building block to beneficial networking.

Take the time to examine and evaluate your current network. You can always improve on your networking skills. In the end, an established network will pay dividends today and tomorrow.

Executive recruiter William Werksman is a frequent columnist to job boards including addressing both the candidate's and employer's perspective. Werksman's expertise has been featured in business magazines, national newspapers and television news segments. His firm, Resource Partners, is recognized as the leading source of specialized and executive talent in the Casino and Gaming industry. He manages a staff of recruiters out of his firm's Las Vegas, Nevada headquarters. He may be reached at:

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