From time to time it's necessary to take stock of the current quality and future potential of your networking relationships. This is because regularly evaluating your networks ensures a relevance of the connections you have in relation to your current business situation or professional goals. In such evaluation, be careful not to get sidetracked by what can be readily measured instead of what's important.
Online networking statistics are a case in point. You might feel heartened by having a large number of connections on LinkedIn, hundreds of followers on Twitter, and lots of friends on Facebook. But what counts is the quality of the interactions as expressed by comments and replies to your contributions on those platforms and ultimately the real world results they create.
It's also important to remember that networks change over time, as will your personal and business goals and those of your connections. As a result, some relationships will naturally become more productive or useful over time than others. Deciding which relationships to focus your time and resources on can be difficult. Analysing your network relationships in this way may seem strange at first. However, what you are doing is determining which people you are most valuable to and who can be most valuable to you. This analysis ensures a mutual value that underpins an effective network. Taking a positive strategic approach enables you to realise the best possible opportunities for your business and professional growth.
To conclude this lesson, we are going to hear from some people just like you, people who are actively interested in networking to help them achieve a business or career goal while helping others. What advice can they offer from their own experiences and approaches of networking?
I think it's about being clear about your objectives for networking. Who are the sorts of people we want to meet? How many people would you need to meet to enable you to achieve your personal and business goals? And then being positive, going to meet people. Most people are really, really lovely. Occasionally, you might meet people who aren't, but usually they're the minority, rather than the majority.
I think networking has to be viewed as a long-term approach. Putting pressure on yourself to make some fabulous contacts the first day that you go out to network, I think, is probably quite a tough starter. So as a long-term strategy, think about how to actually stay in touch with those people. So once you've made the contacts, once you've shared contact details with each other, how are you going to then reestablish connection later on?
The advice I'd give is go in with no expectations. If you get something out of it, great. If you don't, still great. You have to go in kind of blind and say whatever I take out of it is going to be useful to me in my future career. So that would be things like making everything relevant. You know, you could be at a networking event and think, I'm not really gaining anything from it. But look a bit deeper from it. Was there someone that you've been able to get in touch with from a different industry that was able to give you different opinions and insights? Is there someone there that perhaps can lend you advice about blog rising or something that you're interested in? There's always something to take away. And it's what you make, you know, it's the value that you draw out of it. And also I'd give the advice of don't be too needy. Don't rush things. Don't be fake. Be true to yourself. Show off your personality and you'll be fine.
And what great advice that is. So remember the more networking opportunities you engage in, the more diverse your network will become. But always stay true to your personal and professional goals. Make sure you evaluate your network frequently. Keeping your network relevant is key to ensuring that it's effective.
Ultimately, you're seeking to collaborate with like-minded business people and professionals. Open up and share opportunities and learn from each other. Follow these simple steps and you'll soon have a successful network, which can greatly benefit your business or career.
Actively networking and gaining lots of new contacts can be a great way to benefit to you or your business. From time to time though, you’ll need to re-evaluate these connections and adapt your networking plan. In this video we’ll look at:
- The importance of taking stock
- Advice from other networkers
- How to make the most of your network