“If you’re confused about networking, you’re not alone. Men and women sometimes equate networking with socializing, when in fact the two are quite different. There’s no doubt that online networking has a social component. But generally, when they talk about the value of networking, career experts are referring to professional interaction.” ~ Paula Santonocito
There is a lot of interest in social networking on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The key word is “social.” Social networking will never replace the idea of a face-to-face connection with live people. Just because 3,642 people on Facebook “like” you doesn’t really accomplish the same thing as meeting people up close and personal. I won’t lie. I do it too, however, I have yet to receive more than a dozen business leads that have actually turned into real business.
Unfortunately as a Networking Coach I find far too many networking groups and events where the emphasis seems to be on socializing. Far too many people replace real networking with professional socializing. Of course there is always a little bit of that wherever you find groups of people, however that is not only what networking is about.
Professional socializing is connecting with people to be social rather than to drive sales. Socializing is often thought of as hanging out with no purpose and often results in nothing productive happening. It’s fun to be with friends for a drink and some light conversation, however, light conversation often doesn’t get you anywhere. Meaningful conversation does.
The most productive networking is with people who are likely to be close to the people you want to meet – people who you can help and those who are in a position to help you. You talk about meaningful stuff and the focus is on helping each other. Great networks are those in which people help each other get where they want to go.
“My definition of business networking is this: Networking is using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return!” ~ Larry James, author of “Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections!
I once heard someone say, “Two things to have on you at all times: breath mints and business cards.” 😉 Not a bad idea. That way you are always prepared to make some good connections. Remember, networking is not about YOU! It’s about helping others and nurturing long-term relationships. Always ask them what they are about and what they might need from others in their network. Really listen to the other person and ask questions in response. If you first show an interest in them, they will usually be interested enough to ask about you.
“Networking with a purpose is connecting with people with a goal in mind, and that goal is to help them get where they are going, and to ask them for help in getting where you want to go. When you attend a meeting filled with prospective customers, you are marketing yourself (I hope) and developing prospects. When you attend a meeting with few customers, your goal should be to find those who are influential and connected to the customers you want to reach.” ~ Tony Signorelli
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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