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I’ve boiled down the myriad reasons why we network into AIRS. Just as our bodies need air or oxgen to survive so do our businesses and careers.

A = Advice
I = Information
R = Referrals and Recommendations
S = Support

In the written relationship-building plan that each of you has (you do, don’t you?!), you can list the various face-to-face events you attend like trade shows; conferences; monthly professional, industry and social gatherings: in-house and client meetings; after hours; and one-on-ones in person and on the phone. You can do the same for your online venues.

Then put one or more of the above initials after each event. It will help you focus strategically on why you are participating and afterwards help you evaluate the ROI.

• Did you accomplish what you wanted?
• Is this the right event/group for you?
• Is it perhaps the correct venue, and the right people weren’t there this month or didn’t read your post?
• Is it wise to try that venue again?

We do business and seek AIRS from people we know and trust; hence, the reason for networking. We want to feel comfortable with the people from whom we seek AIRS and make sure they will keep private issues private.

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