All posts tagged network

The Importance of Relationship Building

By Casey McVay

Relationships are one of the most important aspects of living a good life. Yet, often times, we don’t value the conversations we have or pay close enough attention to those around us. What I have learned in my young life is relationships help us when we reach the proverbial fork in the road.

When we face challenges or opportunities, our relationships, our network and connections, personal and professional, guide us to choose which path to take. We shouldn’t always make decisions independently, so when we need help seeing what is best for us, we can rely on those closest to us.

Many important aspects of networking help build these connections and relationships, such as having a smart conversation starter or your “elevator speech,” which I remind you should not be boring like elevator music or so rehearsed that it feels forced. However, the simplest of tips are the essential ones, too: Be yourself, be open, inquire, and be generous.

  • Be yourself. What’s not to like? You’re awesome. Don’t sweat trying to be anything but who you are and people will appreciate your authenticity.
  • Be open. Not an open book, but open. When we are “all about business,” we tend to come across cold, so shake it off, and don’t fear revealing something somewhat personal – it lets the other person know you’re real.
  • Inquire. Don’t forget “it takes two” in a relationship. Here are some great, easy to remember questions to ask: How do you like working at your company? How’d you get into that? Have any tips for _____?
  • Be generous. Once you have made a first connection, the best way to keep it going is to be a resource for the other person. No need to overdo it here, though, but providing something interesting or helpful to them, a referral or link to information, can make the difference in building a stronger relationship. 

Little, simple things like these can add up to big, amazing long-lasting and reliable relationships, and living a really good life with great people around you.

Photos from the FLEX Annual Meeting in October, taken by Chett DeLong

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) June 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

A Global Manager’s Thoughts on Networking

by Kurtis Bell, ServiceMaster by Bell

What-is-networkingMany of us focus on networking at after hour events, happy hours, or expos; but one place we may be overlooking is within our own organizations. In a recent conversation with Chamber Board member Alan McBride, we discussed this very topic. While networking locally can be very helpful in connection you with like minded people and organizations, networking within your organization can open up a variety of opportunities you might not ever consider.

Locally, networking might open you up to contributing to an organization via membership or even a role in leadership. Non-profits rely on dedicated groups of volunteers to make things happen. Your involvement in such a group could even help increase your visibility and build depth and breadth in your network. I have experienced this first hand and can attest to the quality and quantity of great connections I have made through volunteering with non-profits.

One venue for networking that many do not often consider is networking within your own organization or company. Within your organization, networking can provide a great opportunity to connect with others in similar situations who could help you or be helped by you. This connection is often mutually beneficial and can lead to future cooperative efforts as well.

In talking with Alan, he summed this all up very well. I’ll close this month with his thoughts on networking.

“Networking opportunities can include ways to develop both on a personal and professional basis. By connecting with someone else, you can gain a better understanding of how that person can help you grow, develop and learn new skillsets. Networking within your own company and locally can not only help support your own development, but you can help others develop to an event greater extent as well. “

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s October 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.


Three Network Connections You Can Dump Right Now

By Kurtis Bell

So you’ve spent years building your network and by now have cultivated a sizable group on which you can call on for referrals, reviews, or advice. In a perfect world, all our connections would be power players; valuable “can’t do without” type of network connections. Unfortunately, that is never the case, so here is my guide on when to make your way to the exit and deploy the ol parachute.

One connection you can distance yourself from instantly is the narcissistic, egocentric network connection. This is an easy one to pick out because this connection will always be the first to let you know it is all about them, all the time.

The second connection you can let go is the connection who never passes referrals or makes introductions. Not saying that you have to keep score in a little notebook you carry at all times, but valuable connections will help you out from time to time.

The last type of connection you can burn is the connection who does not know when to stop selling. This connection will be relentless in his or her pursuit to sell you on a product, thought process, or idea.Network Networth

You may have noticed a common connection in all three types of connections you need to ditch. All three types forego the cornerstones of networking; be selfless, be a great connector, and focus on making a genuine connection rather than a one time sale. With the end of yet another year rapidly approaching, it may be time for you to reflect on your network and see if it needs some trimming. Remember what Porter Gale says: “Your network is your net worth.”

Your Great Job – Just a Network Away

This morning I’ve been watching The Early Show’s special edition on finding (or keeping) a job. They’ve called in the experts for advice. I watch with great interest as I have friends and family who are unemployed and almost daily encounter community members who are on the job search. There’s is a resounding message in this news segment. Network, network, network! Find people in your industry to meet with, make everyone you know aware then you are seeking employment and use on-line social networking. This may sound like obvious advice but in fact can be very challenging for someone new to a job search.

I could personally share many stories of friends and coworkers who have not only found new jobs but very satisfying new careers through the leverage of a good network. So, where to get started? There’s no better place than the chamber of commerce. Wherever you happen to be on your career path, it is likely that through the chamber you will find access to businesses and individuals that are somehow connected to your industry. If you’re a chamber member, the tools are all at your fingertips. Grab your member directory and make a contact. Write a note or send an email requesting the chance to meet someone new. Attend an upcoming event and make sure chamber staff is aware of who you are interested in meeting. If you are not a chamber member, stop by the chamber to learn about what businesses and networks exist in the community. We can help you develop a strategy for “getting connected”.