Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Topic of Networking

The economy is still in flux.

People are still worried about their careers, money and the future.

But one thing never changes.... "All opportunities come from people".

Are you doing the things necessary to create and cultivate meaningful relationships in your personal and professional life?  Do you wonder why some people seem "lucky" in how they attract opportunities?   There is a connection.  People matter.... and when we choose people we always are victorious. 

For years people thought that the topic of "networking" was a bit fluffy.  When I first began to write and speak on the topic there were those who claimed it was not that important enough for companies to want to pay for training on the topic.  Technology was going to replace the face-to-face world of meetings, and a LinkedIn connection would be all one would need to gain access to others.

But after the past few years of recession, the power of business relationships has become more clear.  Fortune 500 companies and main street entrepreneurs are investing in learning how to do a better job of building visibility withing their communities.  Nothing replaces the feelings that are created when we know, like, and trust others.

It used to be that getting to know somebody was a process.  Now we just assume we know them because we have read their social media profiles.  Without the time investment in knowing others, we fill in the blanks with assumptions.  This sets us all up for disappointment.

Networking is a "hot topic" for keynote and breakout presentations at conferences in all industries.  All seasoned meeting professionals know that people want better networking at events... but there is not one answer to the "best" way to get people to connect (at conferences or in day-to-day life).  Simply throwing people together with an open bar is not enough to bring results.

Goofy ice breaker games can work, but sometimes they turn people off from the whole idea of networking.  Not all ice breakers are bad, but none are magic bullets.  However, many are just silly.  You need an integrated approach to get people to embrace making connections.  

Gone are the days where people "pooh-pooh" the importance of networking.  Some claim to not like the word, and replace it with any series of other descriptions... but a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet:

Networking is the creation of long-term and mutually-beneficial relationships between two or more people where everyone involved succeeds more because of those relationships than they would have without those connections.  

Who honestly does not like long-term and mutually beneficial relationships?

But we still struggle to get people to invest in discovering and serving others as part of the process.  Too many fear rejection or worry about the time involved to establish these connections.  There are hopes of being "discovered" by some well connected people and a powerful network is just arrive, but that will not really happen.  

Few things worthwhile happen without planning, focus and taking actions.  Creating a network that brings opportunity is no different!

Is this topic important?  What do you think?

Have A Great Day

thom singer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We wanted to make the theme for our annual meeting "networking" but our association president thought it was "fluffy". The meeting was not that great, and the board president then asked why we did not have better networking. Grrrrrrr.

Next year this is our theme.