Over the last couple of years I delivered a number of trainings on Networking and it’s been an enlightening experience.
I remember when I began Networking many moons ago in the early 2000’s.
I was a wall flower, I was scared and I generally hoped no-one would talk to me. AND I had no clue why or how I should network.
Interestingly it was an NLP training that changed all that for me.
I became actively involved in women’s networks and technology networks as well as an active member of Ecademy, many moons ago.
Today, I see that so many people have a similar fear and apprehension of networking and especially of Social Media and networking online. There is massive trepidation about sharing anything about themselves and they basically can’t see the reason for it.
So here are five reasons to build your network and relationships online…
Number 1 – Six degrees of Separation.
You never know when you may want to speak to that famous person, or request an appearance at a charity event you’re hosting.
From actual research (and a movie), the theory of six degrees of separation holds some truth (Microsoft tested it a few years ago with MSN and Hotmail users).
My personal experience of this has been amazing.
I’ve mentioned before that the reason I began interviewing people was because I had in my mind a list of people I would love to interview, especially in NLP.
What I hadn’t fully appreciated was that over the two years since writing that list I had magically attracted these people into my online networks where I could build relationships with them enough to extend an invitation.
Number 2 – You never know who knows who
When you network and build relationships you have no idea of the sphere of influence someone within your network may have.
When you want some help or assistance you never know where it will come from.
And I mean when you really need help, if you’ve built authentic relationships people will show up to help.
When my partner died I emailed his networks to let people know. What I hadn’t anticipated was the number of people who would then connect with me and be major influences, friends and sources of inspiration, as well as work!
There are a core group of people who were not in my network without whom the last couple of years would have been even more challenging.
I could never have anticipated the value of those online relationships.
Number 3 – Your authentic online and offline network are your advocates
These are the people who get to know you, who get to know what your about and your work and will help get the word out when you launch a new product or are looking for something specific.
These are the people who will recommend you when someone is looking for a service that you offer.
As you may have noticed, the key to successful networking is the authentic relationship building .
Number 4 – Looking for business partners and to launch Joint Ventures
As the age of digital marketing takes a hold Joint Ventures and affiliate marketing are becoming more and more popular. No longer are you avoiding the competition.
In fact if your competitors are any good you want to be looking for opportunities to work with them. Their customers are likely to want what you offer, especially if it is a little different or more specialised than your competitor.
And your competitor will want the opportunity to earn a little extra income while offering another valuable service to their customers.
Getting to know people in your market and niche also creates the opportunity for joint ventures, utilising the strength of each person in the venture. It’s a faster way to get to market and doubles you initial reach.
Number 5 – Who Influences You?
It has been proven that the 5- 6 people you spend most of your time with will influence your level of success. So who are you spending time with?
If your network isn’t already filled with people who are successfully doing what you want to do then re-examine how much you want to succeed and take active steps to change this for yourself.
It may sound harsh, yet if you want to be successful then it is key to spend time with successful people, modelling them and being mentored by them. Even if it’s via video, or the internet or via books. Spend time with successful and inspirational people in order to stay motivated and on track with your business.
Networking is a waste of time.
Networking is only a waste of time if you have no intention of building long lasting relationships.
If you’re naive like I was, and believe that you’re meant to sell and to judge a person’s value to you in a matter of seconds then you have the concept all wrong.
I have had friends in my network for years that have been of unimagined value in my life.
The Take Away
Build Relationships that last.
Value everyone you meet as you really never know when you will be immensely grateful for having them in your life.