Iris Du: Harness The Power Of Authentic Networking

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A few months ago, one of my clients asked me for advice on how to get her networks to help her secure a job post COVID.  Jane thought her job was secured until the pandemic hit.  With clients going remote and the company restructuring to meet the challenges of an uncertain economy, Jane’s role as a go-between manager became redundant. Having worked in the industry for over two decades, Jane has built a solid network. She wanted to tap into her network but had no idea where and how to begin. Jane wanted some guidance so I thought I’d share with you the advice I gave her to overcome her challenge.

Many of us network in our professional lives but few of us know how to successfully tap into the networks we’ve built. Why do you think that is? Is it the fear of being rejected? The fear of not knowing what to say or how to start the conversation? Is it the lack of time we have?  Whatever it is, networking is not a dirty word…

The thing is, if we don’t use the resources we have, we are making it more challenging for ourselves to succeed. Networking can be authentic and fun.  It is not a one-way street. It is reciprocal.  Beau Burg – best-selling author of the ‘Go-Giver’ series offers this advice: “Networking is simply the cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win-win relationships.  It works best when emphasizing the give”.

 

THE LAW OF ATTRACTION AND NETWORKING

I get quite a few frowns in my workshops when I start talking about the Law of Attraction.  Not everyone is into New Thought and at least a few in the audience will think I have gone spiritual and will rave about some Woo-Woo concept.  I don’t.

In the last decade, I have intensively studied the Law of Attraction and Manifestation and have applied it to help many clients. Don’t get me wrong, when I first started this exploration of the concept; just like many others, it sounded all Woo-Woo. This was especially because there was a lot of free information available everywhere that was the watered-down version of The Law of Attraction.

It is only when I found different mentors along the way to help me discover the true ART of The Law of Attraction and Manifestation which helped me realise the true power of it.

Our thoughts are super powerful.

Whether you like it or not, what you put your focus towards or what you think about most, will become reality.

This means we really watch out on what we’re constantly thinking about. Once I truly understood the power of The Law of Attraction and Manifestation, I began to plan and create the fulfilled life that I truly desire, bit by bit– and now I can help my clients to do the same.

It works— it just takes time, and you need to plan it.
So, what has this got to do with networking? Well, you can certainly apply the Law of Attraction to networking too…

The best way to do it is to be your authentic self. Be honest about your reasons for connecting with others. Go beyond ‘What’s in it for me?’ to ‘What’s in it for us?’ Stick to your convictions and let it guide your actions.

Being authentic is about embracing both the positives and negatives.  Last year was a good example of good and bad colliding. At the start of the year, Australians endured devastating bushfires. Not long after, we were hit by the pandemic.  Some of us lost our livelihoods, our homes, and our loved ones.  It was challenging.  But one of the beauties of humankind is our strength and resilience. We survived together because we reached out to one another. Perhaps it was the neighbour who works in IT who came over to help you with Zoom.   Or someone you’ve just met recently though your friend or at a family gathering. Or the contact on LinkedIn who connected you to a new supplier? These were networks.

The Law of Attraction works as long as you have a plan and follow the strategies. You too can remove the abundance blocks and get into the greater mindset to network effectively. The abundance blocks are common excuses we make because we think we cannot cope with the nuances of networking.

 

Here’s how I debunk the myths:

Myth one: ‘I’m too Quiet and I don’t know what to say!’

My answer: You know how people say Practice makes Perfect? I say Practice is an improvement. This is because we always strive for improvement, don’t we? And the best way to learn is by experiencing it. By attending different types of networking events, you can then get an idea on what others talk about. With this, you get to refine your message too. If you are shy and a little reserved, that’s completely okay. That’s your authentic self. You get to learn as long as you start attending more.

 

Myth two: “I’m not an expert!”

My answer: Who says you have to be a world expert in a field to network? You are networking because you are wanting to connect with others, right? We are all different and unique in our own way. Use your soft skills to create some awesome dialogue and genuine connections with people. You may be surprised how much you have with others.

 

Myth three: “Everything is online these days! There are no opportunities to network!”

My answer: Are you sure? Things going fully online did not stop us from continuing to work, did it? So why should it be a barrier to us continuing with our networking? There are plenty of amazing technologies we can use to network. There are plenty of online networking events you can attend. If you seek, you shall receive.

 

MANIFESTATION

Part of the philosophy of the Law of Attraction is the ability to manifest things in your life.   Thought leaders like Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Gabby Bernstein and Eckhart Tolle believe you can manifest your dreams into reality.  I believe that’s possible, too.

Dr John De Martini— The number 1 Human Behaviour expert says:
Once you concentrate your mind on what you really truly are inspired by, what’s really most meaningful to you, and focus on that and work towards that, you increase the probability of seeing opportunities, acting on opportunities, and attracting opportunities in your life to help fulfil those. So, we really attract into our lives what we concentrate on and what we’re inspired by.

Some people think manifesting is about positive thinking.  Actually, it is more than that.  It is holistic – it involves your thoughts, actions, emotions, and beliefs.  In other words, the whole self.

 
So, how do we apply attraction and manifestation to networking?

Here are the steps I share with my clients:

1) Reflect

The best way to be clear about your goals is reflection.  American author, Chaim Potok, once said: “…If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present and plan for the future”.  Reflection gives us a wider perspective on things and brings new understanding to our situation and the environment.

Try reflecting on the highs and lows of your previous networking attempts. Focus on what you want to achieve through this year’s networking and consider how you can achieve these goals.

TIP: If you don’t know what you want, ask yourself what you don’t want and focus on the opposite to narrow down your desires for the new year.

 

2) Visualise

Visualisation is powerful. If you can ‘see’ what you want in life, you can compel your mind, body and spirit to make it happen. I often guide my clients to set an intention and put their desired goals onto a vision board.

You can use tools available to you to do this. Write, draw, doodle, or design, whatever suits you.Whether it is your networking goals, career goals or simply a personal goal.

Set an intention, visualise it so you will most likely plan and take action to make it happen.

TIP: In the alternate universe of a vision board, the world is your oyster.  You can imagine any kind of success. Invite others to help you design your vision board and make it a fun exercise!
 

3) Articulate

Once you have your vision board, you can start planning your goals. The more detailed you are with your planning, the more likely you will achieve success. One of the best ways to set goals is to set SMART goals.

What are SMART Goals?

S – SPECIFIC: Are your goals specific, clear, and defined?

M – MEASURABLE: How will you track and measure your progress?

A – ATTAINABLE- Are your goals realistic and attainable?

R – RELEVANT: Do they align with your values and are they relevant for your long-term objectives?

T – TIMELY: How much time are you giving yourself to achieve your goals?

TIP: Don’t overdo it by having too many goals.  Stick to a few clear ones and build on them.

 

4) Commit

Peter Drucker was the one who said: “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes, not plans”.  Knowing what you want is only half the battle, you have to commit that you want it badly enough to do something about it.

For example, if your networking goal this year is to be more active online, then start by making a list of all the people you can connect with and the platforms you can use. Then, take the effort to reach out and make a genuine connection.  Be authentic with your intentions.  Ask how they are coping with COVID before you start talking about business. The person on the other end will appreciate it.

TIP: Sometimes it is challenging for us to be objective with ourselves. An accountability buddy can help.  Having someone else give their opinions about your progress and brainstorm new tactics can go a long way in helping us achieve our goals.

 

5) Celebrate

Even if you do not achieve all your 2021 networking goals, celebrate what you have achieved.  Start a Gratitude Journal and record all your achievements – however small.

For example, you are trying to find new client referrals through your networks and an old client sends you an email asking if you can do a small project for them.  That’s a success even if it’s not a direct win. Record it.

 

To achieve your networking goals, remove any obstacles that may be clouding your vision.  Oprah once said that if you keep telling yourself you’re not good enough or not worthy enough or not smart enough, you will start to believe it.  If you can act your truest self – your authentic self – you can achieve what you want.  Over time as you start making genuine connections and building relationships, you may even start to enjoy the experience. Come to think about it, you are on your way to becoming a Networking Super Star.