Business Networking at your Company

peopledigital1Networking is “the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Notice that it isn’t something that happens solely at ‘networking functions’ or even something that happens just with people that don’t work at your company. Networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships that make life easy and more productive for both parties, even with others in your company.

Redefine your perception of Networking

My good friend Mark has an old computer and as a result he often places requests in to his IT department for service. The problem is that every time he calls they come and do yet another ‘quick fix’ that never fully eliminates his computer problems. When Mark first started working at his company 3 years ago the IT department tried to be helpful, but after three years of constant calls, the IT staff is no longer motivated to help Mark. While the IT department has to provide a minimum level of service, (quick fixes) they, like most IT departments, regularly face a lack of time and resources, meaning that their best service is reserved for their best customers.

Solving the IT problem

What would happen if Mark started helping the IT department? Instead of complaining he started cleaning up his server space, stopped installing programs from the Internet, supported them in meetings, respected their time, took them out to lunch, thanked them when they helped him, and generally did everything he could to help them out. Just as it does with others outside your company, this type of action creates the foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship, and in this case, probably a new computer.

Successful Business Relationships include Networking

Mark’s problem is the same as faced by thousands of others every day. It might be your accounting department, marketing department, coworkers, or administrative staff, but in each case it is usually a relationship problem.

Think about your relationships around the office; are people quick to help you succeed because you are always helping them succeed? If not, try the proven method to build a relationship: put yourself and your needs aside and simply focus on helping the other person, you’ll be amazed at how they want to help you in return.

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6 Responses to “Business Networking at your Company”


  1. 1 Nicholas November 17, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Employees aren’t the only ones who are notorious and don’t want to understand that a little bit of help goes a long way.

    The majority of people are so pre-occupied that it takes a big shock to wake them up.

    And you’re absolutely right – networking does not begin and end at ‘established’ networking functions.

    Everyday – whether you’re an employee or a business owner – you’re on. The spotlight is on you. Your behavior is being looked at, what you’re having a conversation about is being listened to; what you’re wearing is be impacting your credibilioty; and – regardless if you know or care.

    While this shouldn’t make you hyper-aware – it should however point out areas that you may be overlooking. For example, have you been passed over for a raise? A promotion? Have you been stuck in the same position for a while now?

    All this boils down to is, ‘How do you interact with the rest of the people you work with?’ For business owners, it’s, ‘How do they treat the people who buy from them?’

    Being made aware that you’re creating an impact – whether you acknowledge that or not will decide whether or not people help and assist you in your endeavors.

  2. 2 Tim Klabunde November 17, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Nicholas-
    Great thoughts. I just visited your website and must say that you absolutely ‘get it’. Thanks for adding to the post!
    Tim

  3. 3 Concetta November 18, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Tim,

    I usually read your blog posts and store them in my email for later use. This was the first one I felt compelled to comment upon.

    I think you are absolutely correct that the relationships we are making including helping the people around us as much as classic networking.

    In regards to IT, I’ve tried to make my own way by doing everything you mentioned above, but also by learning those “quick fixes” that they do, researching their side of the issues, and overall paying more attention to what they do for me. That way, when I need something, all the “quick fixes” have been done and I’m not wasting their time.

    That knowledge will serve them well – IT is much more willing to help people who are willing to learn rather than the people whom profess themselves to be “computer illiterate” and shut down when IT tries to teach them something.

    Its much easier for me to get IT help than for some of my co-workers. And I’ve told them over and over again exactly what they need to do. :-)

    The same applies to when networking. By applying these ideas and the ones you’ve mentioned above, I’ve had a much easier time than when I first stumbled into networking and relationship management.

  4. 4 Tim Klabunde November 18, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Concetta-
    Thanks for commenting! I especially agree with the experience you have had with your IT department, that they are “much more willing to help people who are willing to learn.” I also wonder how this parlays to other departments (accounting for example) and when networking outside our companies. Thanks for adding!
    Tim

  5. 5 Tyler Blik November 18, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Tim,

    I’ve just discovered Cofebuz through our mutual SMPS associations and in light of all the complicated facets of our lives, your approach is a refreshing one.

    I’m always one that believes that the simplest of things can often be the most powerful. The challenge is cutting through all the clutter, distilling one’s efforts so they have meaning, that they embrace the many characteristics – love, respect, compassion, trust – we all share as human beings.

    Rather simple stuff, but many times in a business environment, the human variable of the equation gets lost. I am optimistic that with the current economic climate that these and other variables will find a stronger presence in our business relationships and overall activities.

    Thanks for the shot of Joe.

    Tyler Blik

  6. 6 Tim Klabunde November 18, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Tyler-
    You are right; we do all share common characteristics as humans. I had not equated the economic climate to the changes that I see unfolding, but I am excited to see that people who are embracing the philosophy that you identified are excelling both in life and in business. Thanks for commenting! Please feel free to add your thoughts anytime as they are always appreciated.
    Tim


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