Make ‘real’ connections
How to be brilliant at networking: make real connections
It’s never been easier to engage in networking for your business. These days, it can be as simple as a click to follow on Twitter or a ‘like’ on Facebook. If we take the notion of networking at it’s Wikipedia definition, which describes it as a ‘socio-economic business activity by which groups of like-minded business people recognise, create, or act upon business opportunities’, then perhaps a Google hang out can do the job. Except that’s not been my experience.
That’s because my own definition of networking goes deeper than that provided by Wikipedia. I believe that truly meaningful networking is about ‘developing connections for growth’ and by that I mean surrounding yourself with a network of people who know you, like you and trust you. For me, that’s the only usable network.
So let’s forget the term “networking” and instead talk about what networking is really all about “making connections.” Making connections is something we do all the time and as an entrepreneur, you literally have to do it. It doesn’t matter the type of business but being open to making ‘real’ connections is essential in growing your business.
So what is the best way to build these connections? Introductions and interactions are always best, but be sure to build a genuine relationship. Let them know a bit about you and most importantly bring some value into their life. I find that face-to-face meetings and a group dynamic really help you to achieve these deeper relationships.
A top tip is to connect with, learn from, and build real relationships with people who are very different than you and who will challenge you to stretch our thinking and make time to search for new ideas and inspiration. The more similar someone is to you, the more comfortable it feels to connect, we tend to hang out with people like ourselves, the same gender, ethnicity and academic background. Diversity is key to growing a strong personal network. Seek to build new and meaningful connections with people in those businesses who know something important that you don’t know! By building relationships with those who can introduce you to brand-new connections not only will you gain access to potentially influential individuals whom you’d otherwise never meet, but you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Thrive – developing connections for growth
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