I have a personal networking philosophy that I call Soulful Networking (how to make meaningful connections on purpose, with passion and for profit.)
“You’ve got to get out there and network” or “You’ve got to connect with people through social media” is some of the most common advice a woman in business online receives.
It’s great advice – IF – you understand what networking is. Most do not. And I believe your online success depends on it!
So let’s remedy this today…
I find the best way to define networking is to reveal what it is not first. To do this we’re going to look at the difference between prospecting, brokering and networking:
Prospecting: When you walk through a reception or meet-and-greet or a conference … you’re ready with your handful or pocket-full of business cards looking for new prospects (you are not networking!).
Or… if to relate this to social media networking… this is the person you see on twitter or Facebook who is completely in SALES MODE… intention is what’s in it for me.
A colleague told me about a woman she knows who revealed that her networking strategy is to walk into the room and before talking with everyone… scan the room to size up the attendees so she could make a strategic guess as to who might be her next 50,000 client.
To me that has predator written all over it. And one of the concepts I love to teach is the difference between being a hunter and a farmer when it comes to profitable net working.
Not to mention this woman is making one of the biggest networking mistakes ever – which is to make judgments about people (especially based on how they look or what they are wearing LOL).
Now, we’ve all met people like this haven’t we… and, you only see them when they need something.
Brokering: This is when you connect two people, then expect to be repaid for it (again… this is not networking!). This is a common mistake that happens in referral organizations.
Members give referrals and then if that specific individual doesn’t give a referral back they get upset. They see reciprocity as a linear give to get transaction. And, upon closer evaluation these individuals ARE receiving referrals as a result of being a member.
This is a great lesson about what I call “giving your way to success”…
When you give and expect to be repaid it sabotages reciprocity. The intention and energy of it is much like prospecting – the focus or the intention is what’s in it for ME rather than how you can give to add value to the lives of others trusting that what goes around comes around.
You see, reciprocity isn’t linear. You don’t always receive directly from where you’ve given but the goodness does come back around *IF* your intention is in the right place.
Now, let’s define Networking:
When done correctly, networking is when you connect two or more people who should meet. It’s about adding increase to the lives of others and building mutual social equity.
Tim Sanders, author of Love is the Killer App defines true networking as a gift you give to others. I LOVE this definition.
Connecting others without an expectation of being repaid works in line with The Law of Reciprocity which is what Tim refers to as “The Secret” of the business world.
What goes around comes around (when your intention is in the right place.)
I hope you see a misinformed definition of networking sabotages your results before you ever leave the house or log on to your favorite social network. Yup, it’s the same whether we’re talking face-to-face or online.
Starting now, focus on the value and increase you can give to others to get networking (and reciprocity) working in your favor!
Action step: Who is in your network that you believe should meet? Introduce them, tell them why you’re connecting them and then watch some magic happen.
~ Gina xo
P.S. This is post #13 of 31 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge,