Recently, whilst working with a coaching client, the subject of business networking came up in our discussion. So many of us, when we hear the term ‘networking’ think of greasy bacon, cold coffee and sweaty palms but it really doesn’t’ need to be that way.
I find it much more helpful to think of networking as something that is all around us (a bit like love). It is ongoing at every moment of the day, every day of the week and every week of the year. In my view, we can’t, actually switch it on and off like a tap, and nor should we.
Networking is about building relationships that are deep rooted and lasting. There is no such thing as speed networking. Not really. It’s about efficiency and efficacy. The best we can hope for is to learn ways to get inside the mind of those we meet and use our emotional intelligence to smooth the process in such a way that we don’t inadvertently ‘shoot ourselves in the foot’.
This Trust and Rapport Pyramid provides a great insight into what is actually happening when we are ‘networking’. Think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and you’ll be somewhere near understanding how it works.
We are networking all of the time. Constantly. Our job is to listen, probe and consider the needs of others and then decide how our offering fits into their needs. Business comes as a by product of networking not as a direct result of it.
I think this is really interesting and a useful way to recognise what is happening when we are ‘networking’.
Bye for now.