Business networking, like social media means so many different things to so many different people and as a consequence there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace about what it is, what it is used for, and how effective it can be.
I can understand when people use the term “networking”, and put a great deal of emphasis on coffee catch ups, social networking, getting together for drinks etc., but when you confuse this with “Business Networking” then it can create a problem because expectations can be very different.
In the last few months I have had the privilege of engaging with 273 people and asking them all a very simple question.
That question was, “What is your understanding of business networking?”
Interestingly, there is no wrong answer to this question, however, in my opinion, only two people actually nailed the most appropriate answer to the question.
Many people said it was to make connections, to make sales, to build relationships, to build my database and so on… each of these are valuable perceptions.
As I stated, there is no wrong answer!
Two people on the other hand categorically stated that business networking was a system.
A system that is not just valuable in business but needs to be used by everyone, in everyday life, in every situation where we connect and communicate with others. In fact, everything we do with other people is networking.
Most people don’t actually understand the importance of “networking” in their life, and they are never taught the fundamentals of developing an effective networking system.
The system has a number of components, the first of which is actually an understanding WHY we network.