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A MINGLING MINDSET

Nearly Half of Workers Surveyed Say They've Increased Networking Efforts

MENLO PARK, CA -- In an uncertain economy, more business cards are changing hands, a new survey suggests. Nearly half (48 percent) of participants in a nationwide poll said they're doing more professional networking now than they were three years ago.

The survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service that provides marketing, advertising, creative and web professionals on a project basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 630 randomly selected participants living in the United States who are 18 years or older and employed full or part time.

Survey participants were asked, "Are you doing more or less professional networking now versus three years ago?" Their responses:

Significantly more   21%
Somewhat more   27%
No change/same amount   23%
Somewhat less   13%
Significantly less   10%
Don't know/no answer       6%
    100%

"In a slow economy, people tend to rely more heavily on their networks for industry information as well as job and sales leads," said Tracey Turner, executive director of The Creative Group. "Professionals who ask others for help should remember to reciprocate. Consistently serving as a resource to others is the most effective way to forge long-term working relationships."

Turner pointed out that networking is not just about who you know but how well you know them. "Quality is just as important as quantity when making contacts. Several strong relationships may be more valuable than dozens of casual acquaintances."

She offered the following tips for building a solid network:

  • Have business cards handy. Even if you're unemployed, prepare business cards listing your areas of expertise and contact information.
  • Get them talking. Ask people open-ended questions about their industry, and listen carefully to their answers. Everyone appreciates an attentive audience, and the information you gather can help you find common ground.
  • Take notes. Once you've exchanged cards with a new contact, jot down information about that person on the back of his or her card so you can reference it later.
  • Follow up. Send new contacts a quick news clip of interest within a day or two of meeting them. Then be sure to check in periodically.
  • Keep it a two-way street. Be responsive to the requests you receive from your contacts, and identify opportunities to help them. If you assist them when they ask for help, they're more likely to return the favor.

The Creative Group has offices in major markets across the United States and in Canada and offers online job search services at www.creativegroup.com.


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