Many people ask, “How do they do it?” They are not asking how to put together that pesky television stand. No, rather they are asking how wealthy and successful people manage to become wealthy and successful.
While many people who have built wealth and are successful most certainly ran into luck along the way, their positions in life are not because the gods of fate have smiled down upon them. Most certainly not. In fact, it is not even a secret, or it shouldn’t be.
One of the things these individuals have in common is they know how to network, and network well. Networking with people you meet is the one essential thing you must do for success in both your personal and professional life. It is important because with relationships comes a mutual caring for the lives of one another. People are more likely to help out, and care to help, if they know you as a person and not just a name on a sheet of paper.
To develop this kind of relationship there needs to be a dialog, and if you think about it that is the core of networking. It is a mutual dialog between you and another person. This dialog is what you want and is what can help you when you need it the most. But waiting until you need that help is not the time to start networking and getting to know people who can help you.
This is best described in a brief narrative. Let’s take the story of Microsoft. Now whether this is fact or urban legend, it doesn’t really matter, the point is all you need to take in.
When Microsoft was starting out, they were little more than a garage operation. Actually, truth be told they were less, as their first office was in a dorm room. But their real success came with the DOS operating system.
In 1980 things were happening in the computer world, and Microsoft wanted to be apart of that. Microsoft figure head Bill Gates was not going to let a thing like not having an actual product (DOS) stop the company. In a meeting with IBM, Gates promised to deliver an operating system to be the platform for all their computers.
But it was Microsoft’s Co-Founder Paul Allen that brokered the deal to get Microsoft the very first version of DOS from a fellow in Seattle named Tim Patterson. Allen knew Patterson perviously and knew Patterson had been working on the DOS system.
So to hone in on the point, if it was not for Allen taking an interest and starting a dialog with Patterson, Gates would have never known about the DOS system, Microsoft would not have sold anything to IBM that day in 1980, and Microsoft the company might not be the computer dominating machine it is today. Likewise, if Gates did not network with Allen, and develop a relationship, there would not have been a connection to get the DOS system.
This is the importance of networking. You never know who or how someone may be able to help you, or you help them.
But when I talk of networking, I do not mean just exchanging a business card or contact information when you first meet someone. I am talking about true networking, the art of making that first connection and turning it into a long term relationship with mutual give and take.
True networking is what takes work, is hard, and is what leads to success and wealth.
One trick of successful people is the monthly contact. There are those master networkers out there that, once a month, work through their list of contacts and do just that, contact. They drop emails, ring them up on the phone; if for nothing else than to say how have you been, what’s new, and let’s grab a cup of coffee sometime.
So take a lesson from master networkers. Learn how to make the initial contact and develop those relationships, those dialogs, so they last for years to come. Then don’t be afraid to call on your network for a favor or a specific contact for help. After all, that is why you took the time in the first place, other than that basic human connection.