Networking is all about connecting to the right set of people and being able to use those connections when you want to. In other words, it is a deliberate activity to build, reinforce and maintain relationships of trust with other people to further your goals. It simply is focused on professional goals.
A strong network is where you have connections in all of your areas of interest with people who know ‘who you are and what you want’ and can help in fulfilling the interest.
So you build a strong tree by getting to know more people, building trust with them and telling them what you are looking for.
But before we talk more about professional networking let’s set some ground rules to ensure that we do it the right way.
1. It’s Networking not dating 😉
Remember, while connecting with people they are judging your every move and unlike dating setting up the first impression will not help, you must keep up that first impression every time you meet or talk you cannot afford to lose that impression, you should be punctual every time, maintain your personality, talk sense, be precise and do everything you do the impress your date as every meeting is like your first date every time because good networking is about setting an impression that last long preferably forever.
2. Don’t forget Networking out of Networking Lunch
Networking lunches are one of the great sources of meeting likeminded and important people, it’s the whole bunch of people who are related to you or your business under one roof. But most of the people forget the motto that is making a tree and concentrate on the lunch. Remember that good food will satisfy your need for once, a good lead will do that for a thousand times more. So instead of taking the plate and looking at what stall to go first, start looking at people and decide which hand to shake first.
3. It’s LinkedIn and not Orkut
So, when Orkut was there, people use to count popularity from a number of scraps one has received or a number of friends and that is exactly why you don’t use Orkut anymore. Thousands of useless connections in your LinkedIn profile will not help, nor the unnecessary, irrelevant posts. What will help is few good connections and sensible posts that give an insight into your knowledge and personality.
4. Events, Meetings, Lunch and LinkedIn
Isn’t that what pretty much everyone is doing, so how-to stand out, networking in real life has always been a huge part of professional life. But with people relying on the digital world for more and more business and personal tasks, it’s no wonder that networking has moved online too.
A professional network is some sort of connected community of people with similar areas of interest, whether it’s an online community like LinkedIn or Women for Hire or simply your local Chamber of Commerce. I guess for some folks, even things like their local golf club (the group not the stick) can function as a professional network if it has business people they can connect with.
Traditionally professional networking is for Jobs, Business Networking, Lead Generation, Meetings/Events, Recruitment Solutions but today there is way more to it: –
Some other examples of WHY people engage in Professional Networking includes:
i) To gain access to information and tacit knowledge
ii) To be perceived as the ‘top-of-mind’ expert in a field of business
iii) To establish new professional relationships and to strengthen existing relationships.
iv) To increase others, trust in you and your trust in others.
v) To have a good time. Let’s be honest, this is an important reason too
vi) To make sure other people know who you are, what you do, how you do it and what you want to achieve by doing it and how can they help each other.
vii) Self-promotion, the establishment of oneself as an authority
5. Don’t like vanilla there is orange, mango and of course chocolate:
If Linked is not working for you, then something else will, there are a heck lot of options out there. Be part of communities to expand your network, for global reach join international groups and organisations. Being a part of NGO’s is always a plus.
We love doing business with, “People that we know, like and trust.” Another great resource is Toastmasters International. They have clubs just about everywhere on the planet. There is a club for almost everything look for the ones which interest you and join them.
Also, explore the web, there are Word Press, Mozilla, Microsoft, communities. You name it and there is a community for it.
Some other insights from THE INTERNET:
A. Stand out by offering something valuable:
Write a blog, contribute to an Event or guest post, Submit or share columns to newspapers, magazines, and trade journals.
B. Make more professional connections on these social networks:
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, AngelList, Quora.
While you know most of all the above platforms AngelList is the perfect place to connect with start-up founders, freelancers, investors, and talented folks looking for work.
C. Get recommendations or References from people you know. See to it, If you can Find a mentor.
D. 10% of networking is showing up. 90% is following up.
Keep networking, keep growing.