“Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for.” – Christine Comaford-Lynch
Turning acquaintances into bonds:
Recently, a friend of mine started a new business after finding his business partner on LinkedIn. An acquaintance got a job after he had networked with a senior professional, again on LinkedIn. I hear more and more of such instances where the LinkedIn network has proved to be valuable for the user. And this is happening even across countries. I recently read about two people in different countries, who met on LinkedIn and ended up starting an iPhone battery business together! See the power of networking?
When you go to conferences or attend parties, you meet new people. Some of them go on to become your friends. But networking is not about making friends. According to the dictionary, it means “interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts”. Some people look down upon this concept, but I think that if you are serious about building a career, networking is not an option; it is a must-do thing.
Finding the hidden Treasure:
The trick is that you can’t find the hidden treasure until you start digging. Often enough, if you take the leap and do something, something will happen. Probably not what you thought, but something. I equate my network to hidden treasure. When you physically meet people, the digging might be a little difficult, awkward and time-consuming. But professional networking site LinkedIn makes growing your network and leveraging its power much easier with its ‘Keep in touch’ feature. This allows you to expand your network at the click of a mouse. The moment you click, your LinkedIn page displays a list of people who you can connect with. These are not random people the site has picked. These are all professionals who are already connected to the people currently in your network and surely, at least a few of them have the power to help you move ahead in your career.
Pick Quality Network:
Say you have a network of 50 people and each of these have their own network of 50 people who again have their own network. So the size of your potential network is really huge. And no, I’m not saying that you connect with as many as possible people. I would root for quality rather than quantity. Get yourself introduced and send a request to the people of your choice. Most of them will respond favorably.
And once you have a strong network leverage it to its full potential. However, that does not mean you try to milk your network for all the benefits possible. What you give to your network is equally important. Keith Ferrazzi rightly says: “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” Pursue a give and take relationship. That is what networking is all about.