How good are you with networking? Networking is becoming more and more crucial for success in today’s interconnected world. You might be a hard worker but if you are not good at networking and making a few good friends outside your comfort zone, you will not be successful unless you invent something extraordinary.
What do I mean by the “comfort zone”?
In networking, “comfort zone” is often referred to the circle of people that you are comfortable interacting with. This could be your friends, family, co-workers and to an extent the people you may have to interact daily at your work. These are people that you can actually start a conversation with and talk about any particular topics. However, when it comes to introducing yourself to a total stranger, you are not comfortable because it is outside your “comfort zone.” If you want to be successful at networking, first you must identify your “comfort zone” and avoid spending time with that group at a party or at a get together of some sort. I am not suggesting that you don’t talk to them; I am suggesting that you limit the amount of time you spend within your comfort zone. If you go to a professional reception or a conference and spend time talking to a member from within your “comfort zone”, you are just wasting your time. You might as well have been at home instead of this event. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and connect with people.
First Step of Networking:
Networking has two important elements that run in parallel to each other. Without one, the other won’t get too far. Hence you need to work on both at the same time to be successful. In order to be successful in networking, one must give as much as they expect from others. Giving and Receiving are the two pillars; the two tracks. So giving and receiving run in parallel to each other. You must add value and give others an opportunity to expand their network as much as you want someone else to offer you the assistance to expand your network.
I can’t say that I am an expert in networking in my personal life. Two days ago, I had a chance to run into Kiefer Sutherland at a film ceremony reception that I’ve attended as part of my work. I had an opportunity to say hi to Mr. Sutherland but I didn’t really have the guts to get more than about 5 words out of me when I shook his hand. My intension wasn’t really to network with Mr. Sutherland, although I would love to know him, but I am just raising this as an example to show you that not everyone is professional at networking. You just have to continue to work at it every time you have a chance. Each time you should try a different approach. Once you get used to your own technique of saying hello to new people that you meet on a daily basis, you will see your network grow faster and faster. As an entrepreneur and as a business owner, you must remember that you network is your net worth!
Also don’t forget to read my previous article on relationship: Make a Habit to Invest In Relationships.