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  • Digital Networking

    Many of us are familiar with the old adage, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." While this saying may oversimplify the truth, it's certainly difficult to ignore the importance of personal connections in business. No matter how old you are, what year it is, or what form of communication is being used, the art of networking is almost always a cornerstone in the management of a successful career.

    A complicating issue today is that because of our new digital marketplace, the "who" we know is no longer as easy to identify. Of course, there are the individuals we meet face to face, but our Internet connections are increasingly important to our networking circles, and knowing how to develop and utilize these relationships can be an invaluable asset.

    Does it take a tech guru to do this correctly? Absolutely not. By following just a few basic tips, anyone can effectively cultivate relationships in today's digital age:

    • Link in on LinkedIn: The site LinkedIn is the perfect place to start an online networking presence. An intriguing component of LinkedIn is that users can see connections among different contacts, helping to identify opportunities for important introductions. Setting up a profile is relatively easy, and joining LinkedIn groups related to your industry can help make creating new connections meaningful.
    • Make Social Media Your Business: Start thinking about other social media sites as part of your overall online business personality. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram can be used to while away the hours, or instead you can start using them to your advantage to find likeminded people who may bring value to your online network. Make your postings and tweets more relevant to your business life, and follow and friend those who do the same.
    • Pay It Forward: Make sure to be a facilitator of information for others, as well as thinking about your own contacts. If you see a connection online or in person that you can help, take the extra time to do so. Ways of facilitating these relationships online include retweeting someone else's original content, introducing someone via Twitter or email, sharing a Facebook comment, or even liking a page. It's actually easy and fun to do, and helping someone else often comes back in the end (some call it karma).

    As a final tip, remember that quality always trumps quantity. Pick up the phone one day and call an existing contact rather than adding a new one. Even in this ever-changing age of technology, building relationships is the key to success. And, whether it's with a click of a mouse or a shared table during lunch, a meaningful relationship takes time to develop.

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