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NETWORKING ARTICLES
Lack the Gift of Gab? You Can Still Network
By Lynne Waymon

In speeches and workshops, I've asked thousands of professionals: "What's the dollar amount you'll spend this year on so-called 'networking' activities?" I've heard everything from $75 to $175,000.

What about you? What will you spend this year on your contact-building activities? Make a list including dues for clubs you belong to or plan to join and the cost of events you'll attend, such as trade shows, conferences, professional meetings, receptions, luncheons, and golf outings. List your expenses for any activity you're involved in that's designed to help you build relationships that will help you to improve your career.

Total the amount. Are you getting enough bang for your buck? The goal of networking is to get job offers to come to you. In other words, when a career opportunity arises, your relationship-building activities result in your being the natural and only choice for your ideal employer to call. Effective networking will help you become visible and credible to your target market. The return on your investment is a lifetime of job security. Some networking activities will be costly and time consuming but worth every dollar and minute. Others will be inexpensive and quick and equally worthwhile. But if you're not networking effectively, you could be wasting your time ad money. Whatever you spend on networking, here are five tips to help you get the most from your efforts.
1. Don't say, "I'm too busy," "I'm too broke" or "I'm too bashful."
Make time for meeting others. Many activities that are conducive to meeting people are inexpensive. Outlets to consider include chambers of commerce, government agencies, professional associations, trade groups and job-search referral groups. Choose to join at least two groups that include people in your job-search target. Don't just pay your dues and expect something to happen. Make being active part of your strategy.

Participate in activities that will help you meet people in ways that are comfortable for you, provide you with visibility,