The good and the strange of networking
Do you network for connection or benefit?
I have a love-hate relationship with networking. I love it because, as an indepedent business owner, I fly solo a lot of the time. So neworking is my lifeline to other human beings, quite literally. But I also hate it because it’s so hard to find professionals I want to build meaningful business relationships with.
One out of ten people I connect with is someone I end up “vibing” with. With so many different kinds of people out there, who have very different approaches of doing business with others, networking has become a journey in itself.
Networking should be all about connecting with people in a way that is authentic, meaningful, and memorable. The focus should be on the relationship, not the benefit. It's about going beyond the usual business card exchange and building relationships that will last a career lifetime.
I say “should” because we often forget why we are reaching out and messaging each other in the midst of marketing ourselves or rushing through our posting schedule.
I have a post-it that reads: Remember that you are on Linkedin not just for the likes, follows or leads, but for contribution, connection and meaningful exchange, too.
So let’s talk about the good and the not so good personalities you might encounter on your networking travels.
First up is the copy cat. This person tends to mimic the behaviors and actions of successful people in their industry. While it's important to learn from others, blindly copying someone else's approach won't necessarily lead to success. It's crucial to find your own unique style and approach to networking that works for you.
Next, we have the opportunist. This person is always on the lookout for opportunities to advance their career or make a connection that could benefit them in the future. While it's important to be aware of opportunities, it's equally important to approach networking with a genuine desire to build meaningful relationships.
The peer is someone who values building connections with others in their field at the same level or position as themselves. These connections can be valuable for bouncing ideas off of or seeking advice from someone who understands the challenges you're facing.
The partner is someone who seeks to build long-term relationships with others in their industry. These relationships may not necessarily provide immediate benefits, but they can be invaluable in the long run for building a strong network of trusted colleagues.
And last but not least, the hustler is someone who is always on the go, making connections and seeking opportunities at every turn. While their drive and determination can be admirable, it's important to strike a balance between networking and other aspects of your life.
So there you have it, a quick rundown of some common networking styles I’ve encountered over the years. When you go out there, keep an eye out for them. And please consider what kind of networker you yourself are, and how you are contributing to our business community. Ultimately, what matters most is finding an approach to connecting with others that feels authentic and effective for you.
See you out there!