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Marketing & Communication for Today and Tomorrow

"Networking...The Old Fashioned Way"
By G.A. Taylor Fernley, President & CEO

"Position yourself as a center of influence the one who knows the movers and shakers. People will respond to that, and you'll soon become what you project." - Bob Burg

That's what it's all about... "positioning yourself as a center of influence". So, how do we best capture it for our own individual advantage?

Like each of you, I too am fully aware of the positive impact social media is having on enhanced networking capabilities. Let's however not forget where networking got its roots; more specifically, from good old face-to-face meetings with association colleagues, industry partners, and/or new business prospects.

Building up a qualified network of diverse contacts is vital for any organization; for-profit as well as non-profit. Aligning yourself with different clusters or groups can only serve to expand opportunities; possibly even opening doors that you never knew existed. And, from my perspective, the more diverse the network, the better it will be. Let's also not lose sight of the fact that it's "a numbers game". More contacts translate into more potential business leads, prospective members, or new partnerships, depending on your organization's objective.

From my experience, one of the greatest pitfalls of networking in today's world is the lack of follow-up and follow through. To be successful, we must exercise "ruthless discipline" to first identify and then circle back to "prospects" in a timely fashion. Anything short of this is counterproductive.

One of my most valuable lessons learned over the years has been to get involved with a wide variety of professional organizations and business groups. Why? First, I am rubbing shoulders with "achievers" who will bring me business. Next, I am cultivating a vast array of ambassadors who, properly focused, talk about me and my firm positively at every turn.

Networking of the traditional variety is at the heart of any successful organization and will never go away. Yes, it should be augmented with effective use of social media alternatives. It is important however for all of us to strike a balance between these two forums as part of our strategic business planning for 2010 and beyond.

To offer supporting statistical data, our firm has generated over 90 qualified leads directly attributable to face-to-face networking over the last 12 months. Position yourself today. Yes, it will work... if you work it.