Networking can be a major social and life skill to be used in both business and personal settings. In its limited form, networking is merely an encounter in which two parties seek to discover whether they have anything of interest to talk about. But the larger view incorporates the mutual benefits of creating and expanding relationships.
The relationship building aspect of networking is a long-term commitment to know more about yourself and others and what you may be able to do together that you can’t do (or can’t do as well) alone. A healthy and active network is a vast resource available at a low personal cost. It can help you achieve a range of goals that otherwise might be too hard or out of reach. Networking can play a key part in linking you with a wider range of people who can help you to achieve more, whatever “more” means to you.
The following are among the many benefits of effective networking:
- It is the most cost-effective marketing tool available.
- Networking referrals will typically generate 80 percent more results than a cold call.
- Most jobs are found through networking.
- Every person you meet knows 200 to 250 people with whom they can connect you.
- Anyone you might want to meet or contact in the world is only five to six people away from you.
A key point to understand is that networking is achieved at low personal cost, not no personal cost. Networking is neither a quick fix nor a fad idea that can be easily adopted to make things better for a while. However, it can provide immediate results for those prepared to invest their time and energy.
The following describe what successful networking is:
- A power that comes from a spirit of giving and sharing
- A willingness to honor yourself, your relationships, and your connections with the universal flow
- A way of sending out into the system what you have and what you know and having it return to recalculate continually through the network
- An organized way of creating links from people you know to people they know for a specific purpose
- Giving, contributing to, and supporting others without keeping score
- People caring about people
- Fostering self-help and the exchange of information; seeking to change society and work life and to share resources
- Ensuring the right to ask a favor without hooks
Jonathan Farrington is a business coach, mentor, author, and consultant who guides companies and individuals toward optimum performance levels. He is chairman of the Sales Corporation, CEO of Top Sales Associates, senior partner at the JF Consultancy, and chairman of the executive board for Top Sales Experts.