Melissa Giovagnoli interview – Founder and President of Networlding
Melissa Giovagnoli is a leading expert on the development of individual and community leadership networks as a means of growing and accelerating brand loyalty and performance improvement inside and outside organizations. Her organization, Networlding, has provided exceptional relationship marketing and management programs for organizations like AT&T, CNA, Motorola and Disney.
Melissa is also the author and/or co-author of ten top-selling books. She has also been a guest on both radio and television including The Today Show, CNN, WGN, CNBC and FOX. She is a frequent presenter at conferences looking for interactive sessions.
Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?
Melissa Giovagnoli: My definition of networking is an activity of connecting that leads to business opportunities for all parties involved. In other words, networking should be an “exchange,” not a transaction of taking or giving, In an exchange, both parties share their respective interests and needs and both parties commit then to explore making introductions (versus referrals where you have first-hand experience working with the person) to potential connections that lead to opportunities.
With Networlding, my process, there also exists the value of integrity that needs to be in place in the minds and, more importantly, hearts of both parties. Success in networking leads to more success. The focus is on quality of relationships, first, that leads to the quantity of opportunities.
Josh: Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?
Melissa Giovagnoli: One of the most important things is to find “open networkers” who are also willing to mentor you a bit. Where do you find these people? If you connect with me on LinkedIn (and link with me at firstname.lastname@example.org – name – Melissa Giovagnoli) you will be able to view my 3000-plus connections.
Those contacts who have their email addresses in their names are usually ready, willing and able to help you, at least for a limited time. Don’t put all the pressure on one potential mentor. Locate three or four. Keep your requests simple. Ask for a 15-minute phone conversation. Honor this person by finding out what matters most to them. Spread the word about this person by promoting them to your friends and colleagues by email.
Open networkers love being promoted. In return, ask for their best networking tips and, always, ask them to share with you the name of the person they think is the best networker they know. What then? Ask to be introduced to that person to do the same thing with them–get some simple, short-term mentoring advice. What you will find is that you will build a network of one great connection after another and the best thing you can do then is to introduce these great networkers to each other. Chances are they won’t all know each other and by being “The Connector” you will create tremendous value for you and all others involved in your networking efforts.
Josh: What events, places, or resources (online or off-line) have you found to be especially good for networking? And based on your experience what makes them stand out?
Melissa Giovagnoli: There are many sites. We are now offering a $500 e-learning program for Networking for Sales at NetWorldingElearning.com. You can gain access to this service at no charge by linking with me on LinkedIn. Also, visit our site at NetWorlding.com and sign up for our newsletter and blog. Finally, we are building out a wonderful online community for socially responsible networkers (those who hold our values of integrity, making a difference, collaboration and innovation) at www.networlding.me.com.
Josh: Can you share a personal “networking” success story with us?
Melissa Giovagnoli: Just the other day I connected three clients with presidents, vice presidents and directors of their target prospect organizations within a couple of days. It’s so gratifying to help make these connections.
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