Some years ago, we have a research project that talks about networking and we interviewed people about their personal views about it.
During that time people are not that familiar about the term called “networking”. If my head serves me right, I remember explaining it as “multi-person mentoring”.
Those days in the past reminds me of the millennia concept of protégés and mentoring, after sometime it also made us realize that when we say network, this includes people who has the capability to provide guidance and support.
When we talk about networking and mentoring, we should consider that both of them offer different support types. So network is based on instrumental support, ideas, the advice and the assistance that was offered to people that will help you on the other hand achieved goals.
The other one is all about psychosocial support, it is the type of support that your network gives you in order to survive and then thrive as person. But with great networks, it provide you both, but in way back 1993, networking is only focused on a sole support and missed the other one.
Those beliefs were indeed in the past and let us move forward to the present. Obviously, everyone has its network and they become bigger as time goes by. To the present world, almost all people I meet have their own LinkedIn network with hundreds and even thousands of personal connections.
- Now the question, how present network differs from in its original concept?
- Are people involved still emphasizing the single purpose of networking at expense of other?
Now the differentiation, by just looking at the instrumental type of support, the current network is fare well. Considering that our technology continues to evolve and now enabled network like a real world not the old fashioned one, the face to face capabilities and timely support research that back-ups a view.
A diverse type of network provides that what we referred as “weak ties,” in which this enables you to meet different people from different industries, departments, organizations and even from other countries.
The present network is valuable since it provides access to different level of information, not just information but “novel information” with close ties to people connected within you sharing insights, opportunities and experiences that are closely related to what you have.
So rather than ignoring the enormous network of people that you don’t know. It is time for you to recognize the good things it can offer like the remarkable source of thoughts, connections and even assistance. So to make things short, the present type of network is leveling up providing instrumental type of support.
So when you think of looking for industry for you to design sales pitch, you can just simply reach out your huge network.
Looking for amazing introduction for your job resume? No problem, for sure your network can help you with that.
Need examples on the uses of technology for your business plans? Just send an email and there you go someone will assist you.
This means that
the bigger the network you have, the higher the possibilities that people will come at you.
But the present type of networking you have does not always favorably compared, your huge network might help you solved innumerable challenges in terms of business that provides a portion or even no value in psychosocial type of support.
So it is implausible for you to reach out recent connection to LinkedIn for you to help you out with your micromanaging boss, share private thoughts about your decisions and job related issues.
Remember that those types of conversations need deeper connection, but it also requires ample time, something that you believed that you cannot afford to involve in networking.
As suggestion, we strongly encourage you for a personal assessment of your network and indentify how they are providing you with the two types of support. So if you are not receiving instrumental support, you are then doing things without any connections that help you get on in your career.
At the same scenario,
if you are not tapping relationship on psychological support, you will be forgoing stress buffering settlements that your current network can provide.
How your present networks provide instrumental type of support?
In order to determine, you need to ask yourself and understand whether you have someone that you can talk objectively about your personal career progression and development.
People that are involved in other units or those who are on different levels in the organization that you are into that will help you persuade in making critical decisions or even expedite projects. So people connected on different organizations can share their personal thoughts on how industry evolves.
If you want to increase the level of instrumental type of support you have from your network, the first thing that you should do is to assess whether you have the right people in your network.
So if you think that it is not, you can look for people connected within the organization that you are with, the industry and the type of community that can broaden your personal perception and influence.
You can make your network connection by just joining communities relevant to what you actually want, even if it is online or offline, you can look for a certain group (professional group, ecommerce group, capital markets, and others) then join them.
If you fail to notice your most reachable network which is your own network. It might take years watching games before you find out that someone is in you connection has valuable business for you to work on.
Not just that, network and networking has huge difference. Today people are building huge network without even realizing the value on the network. So as advice, you need to know who you’re connecting with and make sure you know them and if ever you feel like empty, you can ask them.
Establishing value with the members of your connection allows you to give in return in which this strengthens the network bond.
Now you need to measure the psychosocial side of your network, in doing it so, it should consist of:
- A name that is outside your group whom you can share concerns confidentially regarding your current affiliation with your co-workers or your bosses.
- People who have similar situation with you will understand more when you share daily life tribulations and trials.
- Those people who know you through various chapters, those are the people who can endow with an effective viewpoint in your current life or job status.
And after indentifying the status and you found out that your current network has low in psychosocial side, you don’t need to nod it off as nice thing would happen.
stress is a real problem, and it is contributing with your mental and physical health.
With psychosocial support, this can alleviate the level of stress you have.
So for you to access this amazing benefit from your personal network, you need to invest time in strengthening the ties with the people whom you have trust. You can schedule or have a casual coffee to someone and start a sound chat.
You can also spend time with your neighbors, your workmates on your previous job, or even your college friends. All these can provide you with precious yet real connection and support.
In the world of connectivity, networks become relevant. But you might not get what you really want. Optimizing your personal network means maximizing both instrumental and psychosocial support.
As what we keep saying, you need to invest your time and even energy for you to build your personal network so you will have a good instrumental support from your connections, by just selecting people with strong emotional support.
So feeding your personal network by giving aid and allowing people to provide help as return, only that time that we can say you have an effective network.
“Networking is just being you”
Let us take the scenario, you are on a job fair, and you identified few recruiters that you plan to approach or let us say you attended your company’s regular retreat and likely interest in having conversation with your senior colleagues for them to become your potential mentors that can support you with your career.
Or if you are in your personal computer, scanning profiles from LinkedIn executives that you like to connect with. With all of these possible situations, there are things in common. You might feel worried and doubtful how you will add those people to you personal network.
The feeling of uncertainty is common in terms of creating new business connections. Your first impression is crucial and we know this. But with your positive impression on an encounter affects significant outcomes in the long run, example getting the right job or closing a deal.
You need to adopt with the common method in getting the right people on your network, by just learning other people’s expectation and personal interest so you can tailor a sound conversation with them.
Leading business has their regular networking events for them to honor their institution. In this event, they staple successful and aspiring professional in which well let individual networks gets advice for them to decide to attend. But it is really necessary to attend these events.
They’re success is just one of those ways as your option for you to grow your own business.
The problem now is that you will not get consistent results from things that you aim for. In spite of how you personally define networking, the success of your networking journey is tied up directly with your capability to interact people who look for their achievements in the same situation as you.
The problem with usual networking dealings is the higher chances of mix professionals who will be attending for their own reasons.
Everyone is focused on their own agenda that is personal, whether knowing a client, business awareness or merely connecting to someone hoping beneficial relationship in the future. Each one of them has its own game to play, making it difficult to identify a winner.
With too many professionals attending from one networking event to another, the reality now is they already forget their current network, for them to spend time instead of attend those events.
We define networking as activity for you to increase value of network or value that you contribute in the connection.
By avoiding the traditional type of networking events, we believed that there are more effective and efficient strategies and methods for you to spend time. With that, we have three strategies:
Hosting Your Events
Why not host your own gatherings. Doing this gives you the capability to control attendees, setting and even the event outcome.
adding good value on your existing connections and clients is good.
Not just that, the event can also be an opening for you to develop new relationship as you meet new people.
Modern professionals has problem in managing time, the difficulty in balancing time properly for service to clients and development to their business has huge effect. But if this is done in the right way, both things can be accomplished, all you need to do is to emphasize how great your client by an appreciation event.
The ultimate goal is to plan it well your event. It should have an enjoyable activity that your customers will surely be happy with it. When you and your clients share the same passions, it is the best way for you to start there.
You can do poker or attending musicals and even sporting events. Wine tasting, this is my favorite events for my networks.
When I invite my strategic partners and networks, I clearly indicate in that invitation that the event is for them and to a guest that they can bring (that is the key factor to increase connection).
You can ask them directly if they can bring someone they enjoy in with the activity in your hosted event. Remember that the event is not about making any sale pitch. The event is all about building the bond of your existing connections while building new one.
In my event, I never mention about what my firm is, those things will come next without you telling it, as for the record at least around 50 percent of my guests reach out afterwards for them to know about my firm. In case this does not happen (rare occasion only) the event that you have hosted should still be successful.
Even though after all your efforts and you don’t even get single client, still your old client had an enjoyable night out, and for sure they will be meeting new people that will be interesting for them share their personal experience with the person whom invited them and that is thanks to your hosted event.
I like this type of networking, double dating is similar to the first one “hosting events”, but this is obviously on a limited scale. When you have tickets in a certain event, you can invite client, strategic partner or your connections. You can tell them to bring someone that they think meeting up could potential do them a favor.
You can think of ways for you to achieve success, the worst scenario could happen is deepening your current relationship.
The best scenario is that
both existing client and potential strategic partner have opportunity for them to connect ideal prospects in your connection or those you have not yet meet.
Reconnecting Dormant Ties
This type of strategy is specifically designed on making follow up to people in your network, the professionals that you have not yet connected with. Usually the items that fail with this category are your former co-workers, former classmates or even contacts from your previous career.
Remember that this type of ties is even more valuable compared to your present network relationships. Your current network might be having the similar circles as what you have and with this, it will lead you to know potential networks.
On the other hand, your inactive ties with them enables you to have the needed connection support compared to the current network you have. But not like complete strangers, your dormant ties that enables you to connect easily in a unique way for you to share your background.
The best way to do this is just by leveraging your LinkedIn and CRM data.
Sorting your previous connection or date of the last exchange of emails, your due diligence is a must here, making sure that people that you reconnect are still in situation that is very much relevant to what you are.
So start it by sending an email asking about their present status, you can mention specifics if you believed that you have in common. And for those who will respond favorable, you can then invite them for a phone conversation to catch everything up as fast and refresh the old memories.
By using these simple strategies, it will allow you to deepen relationships while getting in new acquaintances. Implementing all of them makes you become more productive and even more fun than just using the ineffective and inefficient type of networking method.