What is Networking?
Networking may be an intimidating word to anyone unfamiliar with what the term entails or to any person who doesn’t exercise a lot of self-confidence in their ability to “sell”. However, all the word means is to communicate.
Create a conversation with potential investors, employers, or business partners and do so as organically as possible. The important thing to remember about networking is that it can be learned. “Networking is a skill,” co-owner of Greystone Consulting, Christopher Barrat, explained at one of his TED Talks.
Anyone can network, and everyone who wants the best potential out of themselves and their business, should. Meeting face-to-face helps you gain connections and adds a face to a name, which helps build trust and likability.
There is a falsehood concerning networking with people defining it as a way to “sell yourself”. This point of view can cause you to come off as pushy or even insincere.
Success Stories of Networking
There are many success stories of those who properly executed networking. One example is that of former-SNL-star, Jimmy Fallon.
Wanting to create a profound relationship with Lorne Michaels, Fallon made a tradition of simply thanking Michaels every night after a successful show. It seems silly, but eventually, over the course of a few years, the continual thanking landed Fallon in a seat next to Michaels meeting celebrities and other big names in the comedy industry.
It is the moment in Fallon’s career that would later land him a hosting gig on ‘The Tonight Show’. Networking can illuminate to a potential connection that you are a genuine, respectful, and driven individual – making you the first person they are likely to consider to work with.
Networking is also a high contributor in landing a job and finding employees. ABC News reports that eighty-percent of individuals find employment by networking. It turns out that knowing someone makes you a likely candidate for business or company that would prefer to hire from within.
The Benefits for You or Your Business
Networking’s ability to circulate your name and all the positive attributes that go with it make it an important business tool to have.
While networking is helping others discover your work ethic or product, it is also helping you discover your worth, create a support system, and learn about the market.
• Builds Confidence Treat networking like a muscle – the more you work it, the stronger it becomes. If you are having issues overcoming social anxiety or have low confidence in your communication skills, practice by attending smaller networking events at first. You will notice, the more you practice, the more your confidence is strengthened, making you a better business-owner or employee.
• Gives You a Community of Like-Minded People Think of networking as more socially-geared that business-oriented – meeting new people and making connections helps you grow a community of like-minded people with similar goals and desires. You can call on these connections for advice, learn from their successes and mistakes, and feel supported within your industry.
• Learn About Your Competition Maybe there’s a piece of your business plan that isn’t quite functioning, a marketing tactic that isn’t seeing the results you anticipated, or your resume isn’t getting you any interviews, whatever the case, take the opportunity while networking to learn about others within your business industry. What are they selling, marketing, offering to your target audience that you aren’t? Quietly, make mental notes of these differences, and keep yourself open and friendly to the competition – they’re helping you learn.