Networking is such a negative word in many circles. Often considered to be the world of the slimy and creepy sort – working a room and seeing what they can get.

Of course that is an easy stereotype that allows us all to say ‘oh I would not want to be seen like that so I cannot see the point and will never network – I know so many people already and am really not interested in and have no time for more’.  Of course this is often followed by the comment that they would like to start a business or perhaps get a new job.

And yet I would say along with confidence, networking will be your biggest source of success. 

Networking to me is actually just about talking and connecting with people with no ulterior motive and just a desire to learn and expand my world.  All the best leads and developments in my business life have always come from the most unexpected connections – never a contrived association.  You honestly can never tell who and what will help you out.

In business, or in considering how to secure a new job, networking is one of the greatest ways to succeed.   It really is true that it is about who you know – I appreciate that may not be a welcome thought but it is an absolute truth for the majority of us.  But the great thing is you do not need to know, or be connected with,  the obviously influential and powerful; they are often too busy anyway.  But to be connected with people who are in the world you want to expand into is hugely powerful and helpful.

Often  highly connected people hear about jobs and opportunities that do not even reach the recruitment companies or adverts.  They hear about opportunities that may not be of use to them but will hand information on to, well, someone like you.

It is too easy for any of us to just mix with people who are in our current circles, I see this on some of the discussions boards of LinkedIn, people complaining about the unfairness of the world and lack of opportunities to shine.  But they are all talking to each other and not listening and connecting with new people and trying to gauge what it is they are missing – and they are missing something even if it is just about frame of mind and realising that we must all learn and develop if we are to succeed.

No one is ever ‘finished’, we are all in need of further development and being shown new ways to approach things.  Networking is a brilliant way to learn, we gain knowledge through conversations, we improve our conversational skills and more importantly we learn to gauge how the most successful people conduct themselves and then we are in a  position emulate successful traits.

Starting online is a great way to break into networking, then following up by getting out and about meeting people comes naturally.  Make sure you go to new groups or events that are not full of people in the same situation as you are; that just leads to negative outcomes. Yes there will be some grim events that you cannot wait to leave but they will  be balanced by the engaging events where you will make, enjoy and learn from new connections, and even better, new friends.

Perhaps on another post we can consider the ‘how to’  which is actually easier than you might think.

Here’s to your success