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Friday, November 26, 2010

BEING THERE WHEN IT COUNTS: Are You Networking Effectively?

Being There When It Counts with Rick Itzkowich

During a recent workshop, we posed the following question: On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the results of your networking activities? It didn’t come as a surprise to me that most of the responses were twos and threes. However, what did surprise me was that none of the participants had a number higher than five. The people surveyed were all individuals who either belonged to a referral group such as BNI – Business Network International or LeTip and/or spent time on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for the purpose of generating business. In this article I will explain why this is so, as well as what to do about it.

There are four elements that are necessary for people to be successful networkers. These elements are opportunity, structure, process and mindset.


Opportunity refers to the market demand for the product and/or service we offer. It is largely a function of external forces that have little or nothing to do with us. For example, the market for snow skiing clothing and equipment in the Sahara desert is nonexistent. We can recognize opportunities. We can uncover opportunities. We can seize opportunities. And that’s about it.


Structure is the “container, package or format” where networking takes place. Referral-generating groups such as BNI, LeTip, etc. are structures that facilitate face-to-face networking. In addition online structures would be Facebook, Plaxo and LinkedIn. However, the structure in and of itself does not generate business. This is why many people complain that being a member of these groups and online communities is not producing results for them. They mistakenly assume that just by being a member or part of a structure that it will be enough to get results. Not true.


The process is what we do inside of a structure to generate results. The fact is without a process nothing happens in structures. So, when people complain that they aren’t getting any results from their networking activities, you can almost guarantee they’re missing an effective process.


Our mindset can best be defined as our attitude or our philosophy. Without the proper mindset, you can have a fabulous opportunity, with a great process inside a solid structure and still fail to achieve networking results. The most successful mindset is one where you first look to help others in your network reach their goals. This “pay it forward” approach is far more effective than looking to GET whatever you can.

To summarize:

Now that we have an understanding of the elements needed to be successful at networking, it becomes much easier to diagnose the problem. Is there an opportunity for my product/service in the current market? If the answer is “yes,” then we can look at the different structures we are trying to use to capitalize on the opportunity. A combination of both online and offline structures works much better than only one or the other. How about our process? Do we have one? Are we executing? Can it be duplicated so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time? And lastly, how is our mindset? Are we looking to help others or are we merely trying to get our own needs met?

Most people who complain about not getting the results they want out of their networking activities will blame the structure. They will join a different networking group or go to a different online platform. You on the other hand, now know better!

This month's QuoteAction is by BNI Founder, Dr. Ivan Misner

"In so much of life and professional activity, the simple strategies and techniques can be the most powerful."

Your action is to to see if there is an area where you are making things too complicated.

Enjoy an Extraordinary Month!

Click *here* to find out more about QuoteActions and some of the other innovative products and services offered by THE NATIONAL NETWORKER.

Rick Itzkowich
The LinkedIn Guy
As the creator of
QuoteActions, a unique relationship building system, Rick Itzkowich finds his articles, podcasts and blog messages regarding keeping your brand "top of mind" in high demand.
His, latest product
LinkedIn Power Success System , is a must for those people wanting to earn money using LinkedIn.
Rick is also the Co-founder and Vice President of
Productive Learning & Leisure, a personal development training company for corporations and individuals.
Rick can be reached at

For more information, please visit Rick's TNNWC Bio.

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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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