The Value of Networking
Networking is more than just a buzzword. Taking the time to network and build relationships is a key soft skill.
It’s not just about meeting people or connecting with them on the Internet. It involves building a mutually beneficial link to expand your circle of learning and support.
I participate in several networks, and it has expanded my professional growth and experience. Companies like Spicer’s Entrepreneur Coffee Break are providing unique online opportunities for entrepreneurs to identify common interests and goals, as well as pinpoint areas of need where you can offer your products or services.
“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” Keith Ferrazzi
When many people think of networking, they think of it in terms of what they need, or what they can get from the networking relationship. Networking can be more beneficial if we instead think of what we can give in our networking relationships.
When you think in terms of what you can offer as well as what you need from others, it expands your network. You begin to seek out people to whom you can offer yourself, your expertise, and talents, rather than just those who have something to offer you. Seeing yourself as someone with much to offer also helps to boost your self-confidence.
Build A Culture
It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur or a company of hundreds, networking builds a culture of belonging.
The new age of professionalism encourages leaders to be their authentic selves. By amplifying the impact of supporting each other, we connect with our authentic selves. It aligns what you say with your actions.
A quote simply said by Porter Gale, “Your network is your net worth,” sums it up accurately.
Human connection gives you a sense of belonging. It becomes part of the foundation that builds relationships in the workplace. We all have a past, a present, and thoughts for the future. In other words, we all have a story to tell. The more we learn about each other, the easier it is to create a platform of authentic contribution because people conclusively aren’t inspired by what they get; they are inspired by what they give.
No matter what you choose as a method of meeting people, the key part of networking is to talk to people. Approach people, start a conversation, and cultivate a presence that makes you approachable.
Make time in your schedule each week to work on networking. Schedule it as you would any other important task. Use your soft skills – listening actively, projecting self-confidence, building others up – as you network.
“If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.” Chinese Proverb