“Don’t join an easy crowd. You won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.” ~ Jim Rohn
Truer words were never spoken about business networking. They challenged me to begin to think about the benefits of being involved in a networking group.
What are the expectations of the group? Individually you will find a multitude of answers. For me “to be in sync” with other members is an expectation that should be right at the top. To be in close relationships with others in the group is a must for the group to have synergy.
Networking groups without a structure of accountability usually do not survive for very long. Training within the group helps members to better work more effectively together. My preference is a group that models their group to hold their members accountable for getting to know each other better and for passing business leads to others in the group. They collectively, constructively support each other. The benefits are many and those who are serious about networking, while helping others – the real purpose of networking – receive the biggest rewards.
In other words, I believe that it is better to belong to a group that has some rules that the leadership of the group hold members accountable for than to show up at at large function where there are no rules and everyone is on their own. I can make an argument for either but that’s not the point. The point is to make wise choices about being in the group that serves others and you exceedingly well. A little bit of both is not a bad thing as long as you use your time wisely.
My experience has been that a large percentage of people who wander around from group to group are the ones who appear to be desperate to get some new business fast. Effective networking doesn’t usually happen fast. Why? Because networking is really about building long-lasting business relationships and that takes time.
Look for a group where the rules cause you to be a little uncomfortable – that force you to be accountable for your actions within the group. Networking is a collaborative effort. Rules are present to help you grow. Groups like this differ from traditional networking groups in that they provide personal support, training, as well as business networking. Look for a group where the group dynamic is positive. These groups are instrumental in building your business more effectively.
Rules might include a requirement that members bring a business lead to each meeting or attendance requirements – a rescinded membership for not attending enough meetings. Some networking groups – usually large events function with very few, if any, rules at all, and just allow individuals to attend and network at will.
A structured environment for the development and exchange of quality business referrals works very well. The commitment to building these referral sources is reinforced by weekly attendance by members. Active members attend consistently. These groups also assist you in developing a network of professionals who will get to know you and refer business back and forth between members. Basic rules are created to help ensure the success of you and the group.
“The only way we can find out what we’re capable of doing is to take on more and more until we fail. And then get up and do it again. Get up laughing from every setback.” ~ Wes Hopper
Give more and expect less is a good personal rule to live by when networking.
Please don’t join an easy crowd of networkers. Find a group that will cause you to stretch – to get outside of the box! Or set your own networking goals that make you s-t-r-e-t-c-h. That’s how you will most likely have the most success!
“Network with accountability. Say what you mean, mean what you say and do what you say you are going to do.” ~ Dawn Billings
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. 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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