You’re probably doing it wrong.
If networking just doesn’t seem to work for you or benefit you, you have to step back and ask yourself a few questions:
- If you’ve joined groups or networks, do you participate?
- Have you initiated contact with members?
- Do you share your expertise & knowledge?
- Do you attend any events hosted by the groups or networks?
- Do you reach out to people before you actually need something just to say hello or keep a connection going?
If the answer is “no” then yes, you’re doing it wrong. Networks only work to your benefit when you put in time and effort to make them work. Don’t sit on your butt waiting for results to fall at your feet. You’ve got to give to get. I’ve seen many people approach networking, especially online/social networking in a “build it and they will come” manner. That doesn’t work, and in fact it only leads to failure.
Networking is about relationship building and trust. People like to help or do business with people they know. I’m more inclined to refer someone if I know about them and have communicated. I will not go out of my way for a complete stranger. Posting articles in a forum is not the same as getting to know people or rather showing people who you are. There has to be dialog. I can read all the article in Fortune Magazine, and think they are wonderfully written and thought provoking. It doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and do business with writers.
Once you decide to network, you have to follow it through. Make yourself available and approachable. Position yourself so people want to seek you out. By the same token, reach out to people as individuals. Establish that rapport and continue cultivating it. Share your knowledge, but openly seek the knowledge of others too. It has to be a two way dialog in order for it to work and be successful.
So how will you network today?
Til next time.