Networking is more than a collection of names and addresses.
Sadly most people feel that they are networking when they simply add someone to their list of contacts or connections. This is not connecting; this is collecting. If that is your intent then your time would be better spent collecting coins, stamps, sports cards, or some other true collectible. There is much more satisfaction to be gained spending your time in this manner!
Today’s Social Media tools allow you the opportunity to easily go beyond the mere process of collecting. If you are not taking advantage of these tools; the only difference between collecting business cards and shoving them into a drawer, a card file, or a Rolodex is your storage media.
True Networkers Understand that Networking Is More then Collecting
True networkers understand and value relationships. They recognize that there are different levels of relationships and that all relationships start out as a simple connection. They also realize that the depth of a relationship develops over time.
True networkers understand that networking is a give and take process and an exchange of value. Networking is not the act of accumulating names in the event that you may need something in the future. True networking means that you are intent upon offering value to your network hopefully in exchange for value being returned; value that may be received now or sometime in the future. The when is not important!
How to Move from Collector to Connector
If you are involved in any Social Media the process of providing value is simple and does not require large amounts of time. Here are examples of easy ways to provide value:
- Share articles you find interesting;
- Provide relevant comment on posts made by members of your network;
- Like posts made by members of your network;
- Thank people that invite you into their network;
- Thank your new connections when they accept your invitation to network;
- Add new people to your network; which indirectly expands the networks of your connections;
- Share your expertise when members of your network have questions;
- Congratulate members of your network when they receive promotions or accept a new job;
- Comment on the status updates of your connections; or
- Help your connections make new connections.
In my unscientific observations I find that the simple act of being grateful and thanking someone for connecting sets you apart from over 97% and more likely 99% of the networking population!
The truth is that most people feel that simply accepting or making a connection validates their networking but that’s not true. That is just a start to the relationship; if you want to be a successful networker you must be reaching out and adding value to the relationship.
If you want to be an effective networker; don’t get caught up in this idea that by having a large number of connections will somehow make you a great networker. It doesn’t! A great networker is someone that regularly adds value to their network and cares about their connections.
Do you approach things with an UPPROACH? With the idea that when you make a change; it shouldn’t just be a change – rather it should be a change for the better. This was the premise that caused UPPROACH to be born. The idea of don’t just do it; do it better!
Tom Staskiewicz speaks, coaches, and consults on Professional and Business Networking and how Social Media is a tool in that process. He helps businesses, organizations, and individuals understand the power of networking and recognize that networking is a tool for giving.
Tom believes that when you give value to your network; your network will give value back to you. Using today’s Social Media tools makes Professional and Business Networking more efficient, improves decisions, and enables you to respond more effectively to your audiences.
Do you want to be more effective with your Professional and Business Networking? Would you like to be making more “warm” contacts instead of “cold” calls? Contact Tom to learn more about how he can help you and/or your organization reach your networking goals.