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Most of us interact with people every day but when we begin to identify the process as 'networking' it can have a negative connotation. Organisational Psychologist Lisa Butler has released a new book Networking Exposed to assist people in becoming adept in the strategies and techniques of networking.
One of Ms Butler's objectives in writing her networking guide was to position networking as a positive communication experience and to develop a credible source Australian business people could refer too.
'I hope to take the 'work' out of networking and make the experience long lasting and beneficial to all concerned parties. Genuinely positive relationships are a result of networking done well,' Ms Butler said.
She says networking can be a labour of love when people are given the advice, guidance and appropriate tools. As someone who relies on the success of networking for her own business, Ms Butler said in the early stages she would often avoid networking functions because she felt it was poorly done, and focused on collecting business cards rather than on making quality contact.
Realising she was not alone, Lisa began studying the subject and was determined that networking could be taught as she started teaching herself. 'Too often people come to networking functions, hand out business cards and leave with a smile on their face, calling the night an overall networking success,' she said.
'Networking is so much more, as it is about strategic one on one communication with those you meet, with emphasis placed on a personal approach and keeping in touch afterwards. Sometimes it is more important what happens after a networking function and how you go about keeping in touch with your contacts. It is important to be strategic and selective about the events and functions you attend and the people you invite to join you at functions.'
Ms Butler's book Networking Exposed is used as a guide by professionals around Australia and is helping networker's fully appreciate the benefits associated with the quality not quantity approach. As one of the two directors of Paragon Associates, one of Australia's most successful communication training consultancies, Ms Butler provides customised training and coaching, including networking to her professional clientele.
Ms Butler is adamant that given the resources people will reap rewards by networking successfully. 'There are many people who have reaped the rewards of successful networking in their business and personal lives - my goal is to equip people with the skills to make this success available to everyone,' she said.