Have you noticed that some people network effortlessly? OthersÂ become â€œgreat friendsâ€ after merely exchanging a couple of emails or tweets â€“ it seems that technology has offered us the opportunity to suddenly expand our social circles ten fold â€¦even one hundred fold, without ever leaving our desk.
But, do you everÂ wonder how shallow all of that might turn out to be? Some people appear unable to distinguish between â€œcolleaguesâ€ and genuine â€œfriendsâ€
At the end of the day, I suppose it all boils down to oneâ€™s definition of â€œfriendshipâ€Â I have been communicating online with some people for five or six years, and exchanged hundreds of emails, but I cannot think of them as friends â€“ I certainly wouldnâ€™t enjoy having a couple of beers with them â€“ although I might like and respect them very much.Â But I digress.
The point here is that they are part of my network, and I do consider myself to be an â€œeffective networkerâ€ Effective networker? What happened to â€œSocial?â€ Oh, I just added thatÂ in the header so that this post will have more appeal if it is picked-up by any sites who are â€œsocial mediaâ€ focused. You know the ones â€“ if you mention twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn etc. etc. you get hundreds of reads. I just digressed again, sorry.Â
Whether it is accidental or planned, formal or informal, random or structured, while discussing with other people, the effective networker offers his or her knowledge, skills, ideas, resources, guidance or data freely â€“ without any â€˜hooksâ€™ or expectations that repayment is due in any form. In fact, the only immediate benefit may be the pleasure to be derived from assisting someone with information that was of value to them.
Whilst the giver expects nothing in return, the receiver has a very positive experience and memory of you upon which they can act (if they so choose) in the future. If they do, either directly or indirectly, at some indeterminate time, you may receive some reciprocal benefit.
Along with openly offering any possible help and support, the effective networker does not operate as a one-way helper or super person/white knight/angel coming to the rescue of everyone else, but never personally in need of assistance. He or she also talks realistically about personal goals, tasks, challenges, problems and general issues and acknowledges feeling vulnerable in not being able to do everything single-handedly. Being open means being receptive to help when it is offered and, on occasions, asking networking contacts if they can suggest ideas, strategies or approaches that could assist you.
These two processes operate at the same time and together to create a cycle through which â€˜favorsâ€™ are continually offered to all who participate. These favors are both offered and taken in order to keep the network strong and capable of growing to include more and more people.
This process is called â€˜reciprocityâ€™ â€“ it simply means that effective networking is a coin with two sides, rather than just one. You canâ€™t have one without the other.
Successful networking is therefore about:
â€¢Â GivingÂ andÂ receiving
â€¢Â ContributingÂ andÂ accepting support
â€¢Â OfferingÂ andÂ requesting
â€¢Â Promoting otherâ€™s needsÂ andÂ promoting your own needs
â€¢Â TrustÂ andÂ persistence
All of this is â€œthe essence of effective networkingâ€
It is what a friend (yes, a genuine one) calls â€œgetting itâ€ â€“ in fact I think she invented the term. She is also responsible for me standing back and re-evaluating my online relationships, but I havenâ€™t admitted that to her yet!
â€œGetting Itâ€ is certainly a great header for a blog post â€¦. maybe next week!
News: Over at Top Sales World, we have announced last week’s Top Sales Blog Post, written by Lori Richardson – “The Incredible Power of Connection Using Three Lists to Grow Business” – which you will enjoy (That is an assumption, not an order!) We also posted this week’s Top 10 Posts and the list is pretty “meaty”
Look out for a couple of great guest posts over the w/e, which I think you will enjoy.
Me? I have a magazine to edit, so no relaxing methinks: If you are in the US, I expect you will be taking it easy and preparing yourself for “Independence Week” and if you are in Europe, you will be hoping for some sunshine at last. If you are in Australia, you will be praying that the British Lions don’t give you another thumping, whilst worrying about that hammering you are going to get in the Ashes.
If you are in South Africa, you will be praying for Madiba, as am I.
That’s it – bon w/e a tous – JF