Networking is like Black Jack

Playing Black Jack (aka ‘21′) requires that you play by the rules, or you ruin it for the other players. When the dealer has a card showing between 2 and 6, you never risk going over 21. That’s the rule. More times than not, you will come out ahead and so will everyone at the table.

You need to know and follow the rules in networking, too, or you risk upsetting everyone at the table! For example, when you have 30 seconds to talk about your business, respect that time.

When you follow the rules consistently in Black Jack – combined with some skill – you win. When you follow the rules consistently in networking – combined with some skill – you win there, too!

One of the rules that – when followed consistently – will work for you, is to network at the right location. Either you attend networking events where your target market hangs out (direct) or where your strategic alliances gather (indirect).

For me, because there are numerous networking groups organized just so my target market can gather, I am able to gather where they meet. I target women small business owners. If you have not yet selected a target, consider in your selection process how accessible they are as well as if they will actually pay you for your product/service.

Another important rule of networking is to give it enough time. If you only attend sporadically and/or expect great returns after only a few visits, you will probably be disappointed. The way you win at networking is to build relationships with people so you will be the first person they think of when they need you or when they meet your target market.

In Black Jack, you cannot expect to come in and play a few hands and win big – you need to find the right table, stick with it and then give it time. In networking, you may need to try out a few groups to see if your target is there and if you click with the other people in the group. Then keep showing up consistently at least *7 times in a row* before you will know if that group will bear fruit.

One difference is that in cards, the prevailing belief is that you don’t count your mo’ney at the table. At networking, you should definitely be counting your mo’ney! Otherwise you will not know if the networking you are doing is working!

Copyright (c) 2007 Audrey Burton