How much time do you spend building on relationships that you have established?
What do you expect from those relationships?
Will they help you?
Do you only build relationships with people you think will help you?
Networking is often viewed as a great way to build a business, to add to your client base or to open doors to meet new clients. My experience would suggest that it is really hard to draw a straight line correlation between networking efforts and return on those efforts. It is also my opinion that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, because if you are “networking” purely for your own gain then likely you will fail.
Here is my approach to networking:
1. I like to go to events where I meet new people and will seek such events out.
2. I believe that anything worth having involves some effort … so I will create my own networking opportunities. I started a Presidents peer club when I started my company, I had an annual party for many years to which I would invite business acquaintances and most recently I have formed a dinner club of senior people, here in Toronto, that I expect to grow over time.
3. If you network with the intent of “taking” that is very transparent … I don’t retain “takers” in my network.
4. I like to help others. It has been my experience that ultimately that comes back … but I do it because I like to do it, not because I want to get something back.
5. I don’t like to abuse my network. I won’t give names out to people I don’t know, and I think it is unreasonable when people I have just met ask me for names of my contacts.
6. If I believe that an introduction will benefit someone I know then I may make that introduction.
7. I am a busy person so I will network with people who I think are interesting.
8. I don’t have unlimited time so I can’t go to every networking opportunity, sometime I will go because it fits my calendar, sometimes I will make it fit my calendar if I am interested enough.
9. As someone new to a city I look for opportunities to meet new people more than when I lived in Ottawa, where I was established for 30 years.
10. You can’t force networking, and you need to devote time and energy to it. At different parts of your life you will have more time, or just need to make more time. Its a choice .. but if you don’t invest in networking you certainly won’t get the rewards of networking!
My view on the potential rewards of networking … in this order!
1. Meeting interesting people.
2. Helping people.
3. Making new friends.
4. Business opportunities.
“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” … Keith Ferrazzi.
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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