Effective Networking is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Do you want to be in business long term? Follow these best practices of Gold Medal Networkers.

August 7, 2012

Featuring Guest Blogger, Danielle Workman, Membership Manager Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber

In the spirit of the Olympics, Danielle Workman created a fun illustration of some networking styles you may recognize.  She shares tips of the successful networker, as well as networking behaviors you may want to avoid if you are going to thrive in your business.  Check out these gold medal standards, as well as behaviors that may get you kicked out of the race.


- Practice makes you better;

- Always be tweaking your running style;

- Be open to coaching from other marathoners



- Keep eye on the prize/finish line;

- Set goals for every race



Steady Pace

- Consistency & follow through are the key to winning




- Share your successes as testimonials to help other small business owners succeed

Be Wary of these networkers in the race:

The Sprinter (aka The Sales Person)

Always in a hurry to meet the next person.

Focused on what they do and why you need their services.

The 5k-er (aka The Networker)

They may run consistently, but they never get very far.

Wants your business card so they can control the follow up.

They have stacks of business cards and lots of acquaintances.

The Hurdler (aka The Promoter)

They have lots of ups (when talking about themselves) and downs (when they should be listening to you).

Shameless self-promoters, experts in their field, and people with an agenda fall into this category.

It’s really all about them.

Keep an eye out for this Long Distance Runner, they may just take home the Gold Medal for their networking practices and business success:

The Marathon Runner (aka The Center of Influence)

Observe the person in the room others are drawn to or ask the person in charge of the event the following question:  “If I could only meet one person here, who would you recommend?”

More so than popularity, the Center of Influence attracts others by welcoming them and freely giving, when appropriate.  They also already have a large network, in most cases.

This person is in the race for the long haul.  They’ve proven themselves over the years and they aren’t ready to retire yet.  In fact, they seem to get better as the years go on.  They remain humble, teachable, and generous.  You may find them mentoring other runners along the way.


Points to Ponder and Share:

Do you recognize yourself as one of the networkers in the race?

Is there an area you feel you could improve upon?

What stops you from being a Gold Medal Networker?



Danielle Workman is a gold medal networker herself, having spent 20 years in the insurance industry working to build a book of business through networking and referrals, prior to joining the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce 5 years ago as their Membership Manager.  Danielle received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan where she studied Pre-Med and Actuarial Science.  She is a faithful volunteer for the Girl Scouts and Salvation Army, and a proud mother of 3 children. 

Lori T. Williams is a 23 year attorney based in Birmingham, MI. She owns a legal referral and legal consulting business called Your Legal Resource, PLLC. She assists individuals and small businesses in need of legal advice or representation by connecting them with the right legal specialist for their situation. She also provides consulting services for attorneys and other professional service providers on how to generate more business through effective branding, marketing, networking, and by creating strategic partnerships. For more information, visit www.bestlegalresource.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lori T. Williams August 08, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Correction: The bio for Ms. Workman should reflect that she studied Pre-Med and Actuarial Science from the University of Michigan, but has not yet completed her degree.
John Rohrbeck August 08, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Thanks, Lori & Danielle. This was a clever way to describe the different types of networkers we all run in to.


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