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Networking 101

Networking 101

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Published by: cmu_ufa on Mar 11, 2008
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09/06/2012

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 Networking
By Alex Weiss
(alex.weiss@gmail.com
 
)(With inspiration from Sameer Rathod)
 
Networking is a topic that is often referred to, but rarely practiced correctly.There is an appropriate way to go about networking and an inappropriate way. Byfollowing the right approach, you, as a student at Carnegie Mellon, can quickly create anetwork of people that want to help you out and give you advice. By following thewrong method, you will end up annoying the people that you so desperately want to makecontact with, hindering your future networking goals.Becoming a great networker is directly related to changing your state of mind
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.What separates a good networker from a great networker is the ability to look at contactsas an interrelated web of people who are all connected in some distinct way. By properlyspeaking with one contact and then utilizing him/her as a resource to find other contacts,you will make many of the steps below much easier to complete.I have created a system that you can use as a tool to begin networking withpeople. The best thing about the system is that you do not need a prestigious family withlots of connections, attendance at an Ivy League school, or a ton of money to successfullyimplement it; all you need is tact, persistence, and courage. The method below explainsthe proper way to make the first contact, maintain that relationship and then leverage theformed relationship to achieve your goals. The system I have designed will also give yousome caveats to avoid while progressing through the steps. Often times, you will meet acontact in a bar or restaurant and have to skip entire steps in the process. Because of this,this system should not be used as a static networking procedure; rather you should use itas a dynamic tool that you can build upon by adding in your own effective networkingbehaviors.
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Shyam Ayengar
 
In order to network effectively, it is important to focus on five key areas. You canuse the acronym RCEUR as a guide for your actions. RCEUR stands for Research,Contact, Empathize, Utilize, Return. I encourage you to apply this methodology whennetworking to help you best use your own natural abilities to create a successful network.Research is the first of the five steps
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. It is the easiest step to perform becausemost of it can be done without interacting with anyone. It is very important to find out asmuch background information as possible on each person you contact to develop a morepersonal relationship with them. This means first going to as many career relateddatabases as you can find and looking up the specific individual. Then, you should usegoogle to search for the person to find out information about their college, position, andother activities that they may participate in. Lastly, you should speak with the contactsyou have already created to see if they have information on the person you are reachingout to. Often times, contacts in similar industries know each other and can give youuseful information about their friends. After you find this personal information, youshould organize it into a database so that you can quickly retrieve it when necessary.Using a computer database of contacts such as Outlook or Excel is an easy way tomaintain this information.Once personal information is found, choosing when to use this personalinformation is a major issue. Sometimes you may want to withhold information so thatyou do not scare the person you are speaking with; however, other times you may want toweave in the information you have learned so that you can form a better connection withthe contact. After this information is found, you should learn as much information about
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Prescott, R. (Producer). (1994). Business networking made easy. (VHS Videocassette Recording).Bloomfield, CT: The Prescott Group.

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