Networking is about building relationships, but not any kind of relationships. It’s about building strong and mutually-beneficial relationships.
What Is a Network?
Wikipedia defines a “social network” as “a social structure made of nodes which are generally individuals or organizations. It indicates the ways in which they are connected through various familiarities ranging from casual acquaintances to close familial bonds.”
In simple terms, a network consists of people with whom we have a “connection.” Networking is about building connections and leveraging those connections to your advantage.
How to Network?
Networking consists of two things: (1) expanding your network and (2) strengthening your network.
(1) Expanding Your Network
A network is important because it allows us to “expand our reach.” Accordingly, the bigger the network, the better since it means that we have “the potential” of obtaining more access to things, including information.
We all start with a small, yet intricate, network: our family. From there, our network expands to include our friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. Each person in our network has their own network, which makes the whole theory so powerful, yet vulnerable at the same time, as the strength of the network weakens as it expands.
(2) Strengthening Your Network
Your network is not only about how many people you know. It’s also about how many people are willing to help you. Networking is about how to leverage the untapped potential of your relationships to your advantage. A good network will help you access information not available to others and obtain referrals from key people.
How to build a strong network?
- By being genuine and in good faith in your interactions with others.
- By anticipating. Building good relationships takes time. Build your network today, in case you need it tomorrow.
- By reciprocating. It’s not only what others can do for you, but also what you can do for others.
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