Merriam-Webster defines Networking as: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment of business.
Years ago there was a book written called “Your Network is Your Net Worth.” The author, Porter Gale, marketed the benefits of networking as being as valuable to your future as your financial portfolio. In fact, she theorized that investing in relationships with others who share your interests and values — also known as social capital — is where your efforts should lie. And I wholeheartedly agree.
I know, I know….you’re thinking, ”not another coffee or massive networking event where I stand clutching a warm beverage while balancing a tiny plate of sad-looking vegetables and regretting that I even came because I’ll never meet anyone worthwhile!”
I’ve been there and done that but I don’t anymore. Effective networking is not about how many people you’re connected to on social media but about the quality of those relationships. And like any important relationship, you need to put into it as much as you get out of it. Consider this note I received from a client:
I recently achieved a milestone, one that five years ago seemed as improbable as impossible. I obtained my 500th contact on LinkedIn. For someone as "old" school as I am, embracing LinkedIn and really working hard to build and maintain a network of quality connections was very much a challenge. Prior to meeting you I poo-poohed LinkedIn and dispatched it as being meaningless. Today, as I have for the past 5 years, I monitor it weekly and reach out to make new connections as well as keep in touch with those in my network.
Creating a network has been career-changing for him. It not only helped him get back on track, it improved his confidence and self-esteem. He did it by implementing a networking methodology which includes planning, research, compelling documents, follow-up and tracking.
Networking does work, but you have to work at it. Let me help you get on the right track so you’re comfortable and successfully making authentic connections that will work for you.