Move Off the Sidelines and Get in the Game: Put "Work" Back into Networking
Networking is a widely accepted method to gain more business, to secure a job, and to advance your career. This is the reason that on any given day a networking event or opportunity is available to professionals. Signing up for a networking group or opportunity is not the end of it.
This post is intended to address a widespread phenomenon where professionals express their dislike with networking because they “get nothing out of it”. When you seek further clarity, it is uncovered that the professionals are not in action. You cannot gain or strengthen your professional relationships if you are not in action. There are 3 action items that are needed to move off the sidelines and get in the game. You can put the “work” back into networking if you strengthen your networking strategy.
Networking is not
- Net-watching - stand alone and not speaking to anyone
- Net-lurking - a member of an online group but not participating
- Net-taking - receiving and rarely giving so there is no reciprocity
Action Items - Show Up, Reach Out, and Stay in Contact
If you signed up to attend a networking event, you must show up. Showing up refers to active participation and not just your physical presence. Seek out interesting people to make contact with. If you joined a networking group, become a regular attendee. If you prefer to network online due to various constraints preventing you from networking face-to-face, you must visit your networking group and interact with the members. Do you see the word “act” in interact? That implies movement and action.
Remember when you were first dating and you were unsure whether it was acceptable to ask someone to spend time with you? Well, with networking, you carry that responsibility all the time. Networking is not about waiting to be contacted. If you would like to seek mutual benefit from a networking partnership, then, you reach out to the other party. If you are only reaching out for your own benefit, the networking interaction will likely not end well. That is because it is lopsided.
Stay in Contact
Then, once you reach out, there is still a responsibility when you consider yourself networking. It is the periodic, ongoing contact. The contact is action happening in the present tense “-ing” vs. the past tense.
Moving off the sidelines means engaging with the other parties on the playing field. Basically, when you are playing in a game, you are in action. Participating in any action requires movement and not standing still. At times, you may be contacted to engage with others but that does not keep you from initiating ongoing contact with others. Networking requires this type of mindset. Work is action. Networking is action. Move off the sidelines as a benchwarmer and get in the game as a starter!
If you are an ambitious and savvy small business owner or high-level professional who generates your own leads and relies on the quality of your professional relationships for your business growth, reserve a complimentary, 30-minute Discovery Session today! From Aimee Wilson, Chief Event Strategist helping you leverage your business savvy.