“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a continent, a part of the main” are the famous words with an eternal resonance that John Donne published hundreds of years ago. We are social beings and thrive from connecting, communicating, and co-creating.
Networking is something we do all the time and almost unconsciously. However, for some, the word itself has a bad reputation, perhaps due to the transactional paradigm. In reality, the essence of these relationships is the personal connection.
But in a world that constantly demands something of us, how do we approach others without the self-limiting belief that we are imposing? Do we sometimes undervalue our time and effort and overvalue the other? I guess the question is, what can we give in exchange for what we need? Because when we have something valuable to offer, we engage in the reciprocal law, and it is fair to ask for something back.
No, I am not immediately thinking about business and selling, but the core values that are the backbone of any meaningful relationship.
Firstly, it is essential to step away from the comfort zone and think, who are the people we need to connect with who may help us in our growth? We also need to be curious about them and their interests. Listen to what they are saying because everyone has a problem they need to solve.
They are essentially telling you what currency you can offer them. Once you know the currency, you need to be bold, remind yourself of your worth, and don’t forget to be authentic if you intend to build a valuable connection. Say who you really are, share your passions and turn up your listening skills, too. There is no comparison to the excitement we get from meaningful relationships and co-creating opportunities when there is a real connection.
We live in a world that has demanded us to keep our senses sharpened and be go-getters at all times, where quantity is exceeding quality. Yet, unless we show our true self, we risk wasting our and someone else’s time. Relationships are built on trust, and trust takes time.
Don’t be shy in admitting you have done some research. No one can resist the appreciation, admiration and compliments you give them. Remember to be candid, and show vulnerability. Generosity begets generosity.
Essentially, networking is about looking for those connections and finding a way to serve them. Based on this, our networks, opportunities and businesses will naturally grow.
Personally, when I think of growth, I think of a lifelong experience. Networking, too, should be continuous since there is always someone out there who can enrich our lives and businesses.
Of course, human relationships are a lot more complicated than this, but if we take the above as a backbone, we can build something rooted and valuable. After all, relationships are like a muscle. The more we nurture and work on them, the stronger they become.