If there was one thing I would have done differently BEFORE I left my corporate career do you know what that one thing would have been?
No it wasn't going on a training course about starting my own business - though I do recommend these to start up's.
It was developing a deeper and richer network OUTSIDE of the business I was employed in. But you see I hated the idea of 'networking'. For one thing every time I attended an event it felt as though I was being 'pounced upon' by people who wanted to sell me things - themselves, their products, their services. This was possibly because of the position I held in the organisation as I was on the board of the company and therefore had a degree of influence over purchasing decisions.
It wasn't until I realised that networking for business started with building friendships and helping others that I felt comfortable - so much so that I now teach and speak about networking both online and offline.
In fact a study reported on in Business Week last year suggests that social skills can be a better predictor of future earnings than test scores are. The research was done by Christy Lleras, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sociologist, who tracked 11,000 students in the US from 10th grade until 10 years after their high school graduation. Her work, (published in September 2008's Social Science Research), found that pupils described by teachers as conscientious, motivated, and able to relate well to peers and adults earned an average US$3,200 more yearly than those with equally good test scores but poorer social skills.
You see our professional and career success is greatly influenced by developing strategic relationships and nurturing those relationships over time.
One book that I often recommend to people to read on the subject of networking is 'Never Eat Alone' by Keith Ferrazzi.
Keith has however just launched a new book 'Who's Got Your Back' and my friend Elizabeth Marshall (you will have heard her on one of our previous Biz Growth Live Shows) is hosting the virtual book tour series.
You can join Keith for the virtual book tour series which starts on 8 June 2009 and he is in conversation with Seth Godin and John Jantsch. You can register for the Keith Ferrazzi 'Who''s Got You Back' book tour HERE.
And future calls in the series will be with Guy Kawasaki, Tim Ferriss, Dan Pink, Pam Slim, Michael Port, Chris Brogan, Ivan Misner and Andrea J Lee.
Elizabeth tells me that she also has some fun 'give aways' organised including iPods, Flip Cameras, Amazon Kindles, and a chance to win a private 30-min coaching session with Keith Ferrazzi himself.
You will find Keith on Twitter @keithferrazzi and Elisabeth is at @lizmarshall
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