Business Networking - Common Myths and Realities

Can we agree about the meaning of networking? I don't mean computer networking. For our conversation, business networking is about getting to know people whom you can help and who can help you. Does that simplify it for you, enough to feel better about it?

Many people have a complex definition for networking or get stymied by the action the verb implies. Let's take some of the mystery out of a basic way to get to know people and have them get to know you. Then, if either person needs something, there's an opening to facilitate this - it happens to be called, networking.

Confusion 1

· Networking is about shoving your business card in someone's hand and boasting about what you do.

Reality

· Business networking can include exchanging business cards, usually following a brief get acquainted conversation. Learn to ask one simple get-to- know- you question with comfort and curiosity: "What do you do?" The business card exchange is not a requirement. Getting the help you need from someone - a business referral, a contact, a job - doesn't come from a business card exchange. It comes from relationships in networking.

Confusion 2

· Some of us think when we attend an event with the word "networking" in it, that we are the only one there to - listen to the program, meet people or make our boss happy.

Reality

· Everyone is at "networking" events for similar reasons! To build your networking expertise, think about everywhere you go as being a form of networking. Waiting in supermarket lines, going to sporting events, enjoying festivals, stopping in your local bookstore or library, everywhere you go, there is an opportunity to meet and talk with people you don't know. The "event" then becomes just another way of meeting people. We are mingling with people who are at this "event" for similar reasons to our own!

Confusion 3

· Networking is work.

Reality

· Okay; this is reality. But it's work to find pleasure in! Stay in touch with people who you enjoy and respect, even if there's no immediate need. A handwritten note will go a long way in them remembering when you do need them. Is that so tough?

Believe It!

It is written, "ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you, seek and ye shall find." If we don't ever ask, if we don't knock, if we don't seek then we won't receive! It's acceptable to ask for what you want, particularly in networking.

Pat Weber is a coach, certified telelcass leader, and corporate trainer. In her business coaching, she works with small business owners, independent professionals and salespeople to help them get more of what they want sooner than later.

Visit her website at http://www.prostrategies.com. Sign up for her free ezine.

In The News:

The power of networking  BusinessLine
Networking for introverts  Chemical & Engineering News
Remote Networking as a Person of Color  Harvard Business Review
Networking Definition  Investopedia

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