Networking has been around forever. When Saul was the Israelite King, he needed someone to be his personal assistant. He asked all his servants for referrals, and one of them knew a respectable man named Jesse, who had a well-regarded son named David. Benjamin Franklin networked among the rich and powerful in France to garner support for the fledgling American colonies. He was instrumental in arranging for the Marquis de Lafayette to lend his expertise to George Washington and the continental army.
Networking has always had a place in history, enabling people to accomplish great things. Some people believe that networking is that magical process of tapping into your circle of influence to accomplish things that would otherwise be difficult, or complicated, or downright impossible. That’s a part of it, to be certain, but the bigger part of networking is simply forming relationships, making friends, and looking for ways and opportunities to help your associates!
What are some of the ways YOU network? What are YOU able to accomplish by expanding your circle of influence?
A. Do we look for ways to serve others? When we look for opportunities to help others, and more importantly, when we act on those opportunities, we gain the respect and trust of others. One particular networking organization (Business Networking International) has as their slogan, “Givers Gain.” It’s very true that when we serve and help others, those actions are reciprocated.
B. Do we look for opportunities to meet others? As we expand our circle of influence we should look to create more meaningful relationships. Another professional networking organization (Corporate Alliance) has as their slogan, “Learn, Serve, Grow.” As we meet new people, we should look for ways to truly get to know them. Learn about them. Care about them. Develop meaningful relationships built on trust. This allows us to better serve them, and grow as a result.
C. Do we engage in meaningful activities with others? As we participate in meaningful activities with others, we develop lasting friendships. These activities can be as simple as going to lunch together, or engaging in a common-interest activity. We can join a service organization or serve on a committee of a trade organization. We can join a golf league, or pinner’s social media group. There are many ways we can get to know people, but then we need to take those relationships to the next level to truly get to know others and how we can best be suited to help them.
Truly, when we network effectively by serving others, “magic happens” in our own businesses! If you’re reading this article right now, we are networking! I would love to develop a more meaningful relationship with you! I invite you to respond to this email – let’s set up a lunch or a golf outing, let’s connect further, and let’s take this networking to the next level! I’d love to hear how you network. And, I’d love to learn more about you, to see how I can help YOU!