Excerpts from Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty

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The Most Important Things A Network Can Do

  1. A network replaces the weakness of the individual with the strength of the group. The idea of the group is to benefit members who have the same race, religion, gender preferences, ethnic background, business, trade and professional interests, economic interests, or personal interests. They are the basic building blocks of any networking system.
  2. Mirror, mirror, on the wall…. Your network can be your sounding board to learn what works and what doesn’t. You’ll avoid mistakes.
  3. Know thine enemy through thine network. As Machiavelli admonished, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
  4. My network can expand your network. Where to start? Best bet: a family advisor — anyone old, experienced in business, with a wide range of contacts and some personal or professional connection to your family.
  5. A network can enrich your life anywhere in the world.
  6. A network can provide you with new experiences and knowledge.
  7. Networking can help you help others.
  8. Job security? Don’t rely on the corporation. Rely on your network. Establish ties across the entire organization.
  9. A network can make you look good. To keep your network up and running, freshen up each entry at least once every six months.
  10. A network expands your financial reach infinitely. Barter, sophisticated modern barter, is networking among individuals.

Biggest Networking Mistakes

  1. Don’t assume the credentials are the power. Every outfit is different. No organizational chart can tell you who the real decision-maker is. You need a network to find out where the power is.
  2. Don’t confuse visibility with credibility. Don’t join any organization solely to advance your own interest. Your motives will be as painfully obvious as a deathbead conversion.
  3. Don’t be a schnorrer. That’s Yidish for people who constantly take a little bit more than they’re entitled to. Save your big favor requests for the big issues.
  4. Don’t say no for the other guy. Don’t presume that someone within reach of your network would automatically say no.
  5. Dance with the one that brung you. When someone in your network comes through, don’t be a stiff. Dinner, flowers, a box of candy, or even a phone call is a must.
  6. Don’t mistake the company’s network for your network. If you’re going to keep your job, your network has to be as good as or better than your own company’s.
  7. Don’t be slow to answer the call. Don’t stall. Even if you never expect to have your effort repaid. Remember that your network will be as fast at broadcasting your failures as it is at broadcasting your successes.
  8. It probably isn’t just your network that’s aging, its you. Make a genuine effort to modernize your skills and knowledge. Catch the zeitgeist.
  9. Don’t underestimate the value of the personal touch. Small businesses must know how to network with their customers and prospects by emphasizing a level of personal service and attention that the big businesses can’t.
  10. If you don’t know, ask. Even if you do know, ask. To compete, draft a questionnaire and put it where your customers can pick it up.
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