What Does Networking Mean To You?

TRY Coaching — Power of Networking

As business professionals, one of the requirements of “doing business” is networking. Having been in the service business most of my working life, it has become second nature to me and some might even say I am the quintessential networker.

These days there are many faces to networking: business events; organizations that tout building relationships and having others sell for you; or the proverbial “meet and greet” functions, with its casts of thousands, who stand around shaking hands and handing out business cards. And let’s not forget our social media network, especially LinkedIn.  When was the last time you connected with someone that you are already connected to?

What is your networking du jour menu look like?   Are you choosing those networking events blindly without any strategic planning? Or, do you think about and strategize what you want to accomplish at these gatherings to understand which path is going to work specifically for you.

Bob Beaudine, author of The Power of Who tells us “You already know everyone you need to know”, to get what you want and to actualize your dreams through the simple process of identifying your WHO and connecting with them.  If this is true, have you identified those people you already know and started reaching out to them?  When you do reach out, how does the conversation go?  Are you more interested in getting your needs met or are you interested in seeing what you can do for others?

Keith Ferrazzi, author, entrepreneur says: “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity”.

As a Professional and Certified Executive and Business coach, I work with many clients that face the networking dilemma with dread and anxiety.  The thought of either going to an event or talking to others is almost as scary as reaching out to someone in your social media network.  As business professionals, when we put ourselves out there, it can feel vulnerable and very uncomfortable.

What if you were able to shift your mindset about networking and follow Mr. Ferrazzi’s advice, go to an event or reach out with being generous in mind?  Don’t think about your needs; think about what you might learn from others and how you might be able to help them.

In today’s ever changing and challenging business landscape networking has become more important than ever.  Establishing mutually beneficial relationships with other business people, potential clients and/or customers is tantamount to doing business.

How would you rate your networking endeavors?  Are you networking in smart and strategic ways or are you just collecting business cards that are only good for collecting dust?