Networking 101: And 201
Do you dread networking?
Do you even know what networking really is?
Do you need to change your perspective on networking?
Want to get better at it?
It seems lately I am getting lots of requests to meet. People are curious about networking and connecting to their community.
Of course, I say yes to all of them.
You see, I love people. I am somewhat addicted to them and I realized early in my career that people move the world/our community forward, not a person. Collectively, we are much stronger than any single voice or action.
Networking is about meeting new people, fostering the relationship and nurturing a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship that will last throughout your life.
I often tease in a statement that, “I am not that smart, but I know all the smart people.” This makes me resourceful and quite bright in many other’s eyes.
Here are five good reasons why networking is important.
- Do you want to be successful? Investing in human capital leads to success. With access to key people in various industries, you can stay on top of trends and what’s new. When you have questions, they have answers. You are the sum of the 5-10 people you hang out with. So, hang with smart friends.
- Job searches. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before age forty, and this number is projected to grow. Forrester Research predicts that today’s youngest workers will hold twelve to fifteen jobs in their lifetime. So, the best way to move on and up is knowing people. Who to ask what. Where to look. Who is looking for good employees. And most often, getting a new job happens because someone knows you and knows your skill set.
- Networking can lead to lifelong friendships. Sometimes meeting a person at a conference or business social, leads to more than business. Come to find out you have a lot in common. Pursuing the same goals. Working together in concert for the common goal brings you closer to that individual. Next thing you know, you are enjoying each other’s company socially.
- Networking creates more visibility. People jokingly express to me, “Jim, you need to more visible!” They knowingly understand that I could not possibly be more visible. I network in all the circles. I attend business meetings, social events, sporting events, children’s events, educational events, fundraising events, community gatherings etc. Being visible allows people to know you are making a difference. And you have the energy to make that difference.
- Get a different perspective. The more people you meet with and talk to, the more interesting and different perspectives you hear on varied topics. Everybody has an opinion. Listening to the wide range and all-encompassing thoughts on something from several contacts, helps you form your own opinion and better helps you learn and understand. Networking allows you to learn from others. Grow from others.
Ultimately, networking takes you places you only dreamed of in the past. The best way to network is to just get started. Go to a business after hours or a social event. Meet people, remember them, reach out to them, and stay in touch with them. The best way to start networking is to just get started.
So, get out there, and happy networking.
(Jim would be happy to come to your business and provide a 60-minute presentation on the art of networking. Call him at 304-541-4756)