Military spouses have a unique opportunity to be master networkers. If we look just at how many times we move, or the fact that we often live in very transient communities, we come in contact with lots of folks. That’s why military spouse networking is so key.
Add to that the fact that, perhaps due to high unemployment numbers or just a desire to become involved in the many communities we find ourselves in, volunteerism is high among military spouses…you have a recipe for some great networking ability.
But while we may have tons of people in our circles, many of us may find that we are not really utilizing the relationships to the best of our ability. Our networking as military spouses is simply not working. Certainly, making friends and finding opportunities to be around others in our community shouldn’t always come from a desire to network ourselves for personal, professional or financial gain. But having a solid network of individuals can have many benefits outside of these arenas, and to be honest, can ease some of the burden and/or loneliness of military spouse life.
So if you find yourself knowing a whole lot of people, but not being able to maximize those relationships, how can you improve your networking skills? Here are a few reasons your networking might just not be working for you…and how to turn that around.
1. Focusing on what THEY can do for YOU
When we think of networking in terms of what we can get out of the deal, we are missing the mark. The most influential networkers I know are the ones who never keep score, and who genuinely think of what value they can provide to other people. And it pays off. Being the person on whom folks can depend to answer a question, find a solution, or connect them with like-minded individuals makes you a valuable commodity. When you do it with zero agenda and with no expectation of a return, you become a TRUSTED commodity. Besides, keeping score is time-consuming and stressful. What can YOU do for others–it’s a much easier question to answer.