The title of this post probably makes you think we’ve been leading you astray. Week after week, we tell you to network, network, and network some more. This week, we’re telling you to back off. Okay, well, we don’t want to tell you to end your networking efforts. What we want you to do is network effectively by having a purpose.
Many people are drive-by networkers. They meet as many people as possible handing over a business card just for the sake of saying they networked with hundreds. The problem is that those hundreds of business card holders probably don’t lead to the benefits of networking. If you don’t form a solid connection with these people, you never end up seeing or working with them.
This is why many networking experts, including Zella King, recommend that you network with a small number of people to form strong relationships with them. These relationships are what will help you get ahead. You speak with them, learn about them, and move forward with them on projects. You are using those relationships with a purpose. The purpose is not only for selfish benefits. You must be willing to give in that relationship as well. That’s the only way that relationship (and all of the other relationships in your life) will work.
Let’s take an example, so you can see how well this works:
Cindy goes to a networking event. She approaches a woman who is in the same industry. She introduces herself and then asks how her business is going. The woman tells her that there have been many ups and downs, but they’ve just started a new project that is set to bring in a lot of new business. Cindy asks about the project and discovers she has worked on a similar project a couple of years ago. She offers some advice and then hands over a business card.
A couple days later, Cindy receives a call from the woman. She would like Cindy’s assistance with the project. Cindy excitedly agrees to help. As Cindy is helping, she meets many new connections, and end up using those connections to grow your business. She doubles her business’ revenue because of these new connections.
Start Networking with a Purpose
So as much as we tell you to network as much as possible, don’t become a drive-by networker. Extend the hand, take time to listen and learn, and then turn those new people into partnerships in your business and life. That’s when you start to see the power of networking.
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