- What does networking mean to you?
- What kind of techniques do you use to find new connections?
Lets start from the definition of Social Network from Wikipedia
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.
Social network analysis examines the structure of relationships between social entities. These entities are often persons, but may also be groups, organizations, nation states, web sites, scholarly publications.
Business networking is a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities. A business network is a type of social network whose reason for existing is business activity.
Networking is about making connections and building relationships and not just collecting numbers on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter. I found on Colleen Sharen’s blog Thinking is Hard Work information regarding networking – why people need that. Colleen quoted Robert E. Kelley from his book How to be a Star at Work:
Kelley’s premise is that networking is about an exchange of favors. You earn your way into a network by doing favors for those in the network, and eventually the people in your network will do favors for you.
I really like this part because it makes me think that making new connections/meeting new people it’s about exchanging knowledge/information/etc.
Making new connections I should ask myself: what can I give to the person I meet? How will they remember me and how will I remember them?. And asking myself those questions I think it’s a good start for smart networking and not just networking.
- why? –> why I want to meet that person?
- what? –> what can I give them? + what can I get?
- what’s next? –> how I will keep that connection active?
After I ask myself those questions – it’s not that easy to just send another Linkedin/Twitter/Facebook invitation. I don’t have thousands of followers/connections but I try to work on what I have and working on it takes more time and efforts than ‘click and go’.
Maybe it’s time for quality and not quantity? Well, everything depends on the social media and networking strategy you have, right?