Getting more out of your networking

A colleague of mine, Barclay Thompson of Clear Business Development, shared the following link (from Nigel Botterill called Networking – The Surest Way to Stay Poor?) with me the other day.

Following that we met up for coffee earlier today to talk about blogging, which I do quite a bit of, and a general catch up.

During our conversation we got round to the article that he had shared with me and we got to talking about networking, in general, and our views on it.

This got me started on a bit of a rant about open networking. You see, I think Nigel has a point, but I would go further.

Personally, I don’t like open networking as most people I meet seem to be intent on talking ‘at’ people and are out to get something for themselves. A not so subtle way of trying to sell themselves or their products in many cases.

Barclay concurred and agreed that it’s best to listen to people so that we can get to know each other better and so better understand how we can help them. I agree with Barclay but in our conversation we agreed that we need to think more broadly about the idea ‘how we can help them’.

Our help should not be limited to what we, personally and in our businesses, can do for someone but should include who we know that we trust and can help that person.

I believe that we need to gauge our networking not just by how much business we gain from it but also from how many people we have connected and helped with introductions.

Networking comes from the word ‘network’, the strength of which is based on its connections. If you are only concerned with what you can get from your network then, I believe, you are only building weak, one-way and transactional relationships. However, if you adopt the principle ‘give before receive’ then I believe you will get more out of your networking, become a more trusted node in your network, get known as more of a ‘go-to’ guy or girl in your community and, in the end will benefit more in the long run.

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