Sunday, February 10, 2008

Networking Guru: Michael Hughes

Networking Guru Michael Hughes
Interview Part Two of Three

I contacted Networking Guru, Michael Hughes, in Ottawa, Canada. I asked him a few questions about networking hoping to gain more insights about the dos and don'ts of networking. You might be interested in reading his answers. His response was so good that I divided this interview into three portions to make it easier to read and digest.Enjoy part two of this interview with Networking Guru, Michael Hughes


Networking Question
What bugs you about the preaching’s of some "networking experts"?

Answer from Networking Guru, Michael Hughes
Too often, networking experts or sales trainers promote networking as a set of canned sentences that can be memorized or as a series of manipulative tactics that provide immediate results.

It’s a business-first approach, built on the premise that contact equals commitment. From “What do you do?’ and “Who do you know?” to “Here’s my card.” and “Call me if you need XYZ.” It’s schmooze, sell and move on. Not only does this self-serving approach not work, it complicates and compromises an already anxiety-filled experience.

Networking in a business environment is different from that in a social environment. It brings a different set of challenges and issues. So what is it that has such a radical negative impact on this inbred tendency to interact with others when it comes to professional networking? In a word: business.

The most powerful professional networking skill is not advancing a personal agenda, but building on the relationship spark that arises as a major part of the interaction. This is best done by shifting the focus to the other person’s interests, insights and issues.

The effect of this strategy will be to have your conversation partner see you as a caring and competent professional, and open the door to hearing about the value you have. It is imperative to recognize and accept that networking as a business activity produces the best results when it is used not to sell but to sow.

What some “networking preachers” fail to address is the fact that networking is a core skill that requires the right combination of attitude, practice and patience.

Networking Question
Is networking the poor man's marketing tool?

Answer from Networking Guru, Michael Hughes
Marketing has been expressed as the entire process that takes a product or service from concept to client. It encompasses every aspect of business and permeates every activity.

But the most effective marketing strategies are usually those that offer the biggest impact for the least amount of invested resources. This is more a basis of reality than a measure of size although smaller companies, especially SOHO entrepreneurs or individual business professionals, are perhaps more challenged in marketing effectively. It is a continuous battle for them to leverage their limited time and resources and gain maximum visibility.

One of the most common mistakes about networking is the inability of an individual or company to visualize the incredible leverage power and potential this strategy contains.
Most professionals see networking as a one-dimensional activity meant to identify contacts and qualify prospects. This limiting perspective doesn’t allow them to reap the full spectrum of benefits that networking offers.

Networking, when viewed as a marketing strategy rather than a prospecting activity, can deliver incredible opportunities and options. The residual impact of joining, then leveraging a networking group includes direct access to the membership, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, but more importantly, to multiple networks through the connections that become available.

This potential is available to anyone, for the price of a membership and the willingness to invest in a personal marketing program. This powerful resource is available to anyone who has the vision and the commitment to make it happen. So the truth of the matter is that, in this context, networking is every man’s (and woman’s) marketing tool.

Michael Hughes Bio
Known as Canada’s Networking Guru, Michael J. Hughes specializes in helping business professionals increase sales, build their business or advance their career by utilizing networking as business strategy. Get more details on his programs and services by visiting


George Torok

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