A New Year, A New Kind of Networking

A New Year, A New Kind of Networking 2015

The new year is all about fresh starts, clean slates, and all that jazz.

Some folks scrunch up their faces when you mention New Year’s resolutions, but I think it’s a wonderful time to set your intentions for the upcoming year.  I prefer to call it goal setting and business planning, but that’s just semantics as far as I’m concerned.

So, did your “resolutions” or “goals” include networking in the new year? (please don’t tell me I’m the only “networking nerd” in the bunch — am I?)

If they did — good for you!

If they didn’t — no worries.  There’s still time to add this valuable, absolutely crucial strategy to your mix.


The Myth of More

One thing I often hear from people as they set their networking goals is that they will “network more.”  They have all sorts of plans to join more groups, attend more meetings, set up accounts on more social networking sites and “get out there more.”

Well, that’s where a good idea goes awry.

You see, simply networking “more” doesn’t necessarily get you anything more than — more tired, more broke and more frustrated.  That’s no way to start the new year, is it?
Don’t just network MORE. Networking MORE sometimes just gets you more tired, more broke and more frustrated. Click To Tweet

So, I have a suggestion for you — actually, I have three.  Instead of just networking “more”, try these this instead:

1.  Let’s network more authentically.

Quite simply, be yourself.  Be the wonderfully unique person that you already are and not some constructed version of who you think you need to be in order to be successful.  Let your strengths shine, let your quirks out to play and relax.  People want to talk to the “real you” — they really do!

2.  Let’s network more strategically.

It’s time to network with purpose.  We need to stop running around — both in person and online — going here and there and everywhere in the hopes that somehow, somewhere our networking will pay off.  We need to start to think in terms of  what our business goals are, what our personality and communication styles are and which venues and platforms make the most sense for us.

3.  Let’s network more generously.

Focusing on connecting, listening and giving of your expertise and resources will ALWAYS, yes ALWAYS, generate better results.  When you are only out to sell and to “get”, people will not trust you and may avoid you altogether.  You have to prove that you actually care about others and their needs in order for them to want to trust you, help you and do business with you.

These are principles that I live by and that I incorporate into my own networking.  I can tell you from experience that they make a HUGE difference in the results that I get — better connections, more referrals, higher quality clients, great advice and resources — just to name a few.

I encourage you to embrace a new way of networking in 2015 — and to enjoy the amazing results when you do!

What principles do YOU apply to your business networking?  What works for you?  Please share your thoughts below in the comments section.

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  1. I reviewed the list of live groups I’ve networked with in the past and decided to not renew memberships. I will go as topic interests me and time permits. Most require a decent travel time or sometimes an ungodly hour and will follow your 3 points when present. The group I enjoyed the most changed its director and lost a flavor. Will focus more on my on-line networking with a goal to be more strategically myself.

    • Roz — it is so important to regularly review where and how and with whom we spend our time connecting. Businesses change, people change, needs change, etc., so a group that once was a good fit may no longer be the best for you.

  2. I was just talking to someone about this earlier today and totally agree with all of the points you made especially about networking generously. If it’s going to just be about you, don’t bother. You have to give to get!

  3. Thanks for the suggested tips on networking, among others.

  4. Carol Rundle says:

    I’ve always hated the falseness that seems to come with many formal networking groups. I much prefer informal networking. I would like advice on how not to sound “salesy” when describing what I do.

    • Carol — I’m with you in that I don’t tend to enjoy forced networking situations — simply because they tend to just be biz card pushing and sales pitches. It’s truly up to the event planner to create an atmosphere where people learn how to and are encouraged to actually develop relationships with others and not just hand out their contact info.

      Sounding “salesy” is a common networking issue for many — try to focus on the benefit you bring to your customers and how their lives/businesses are better (specifically) through your work. AND, don’t forget to share your passion for what you do — not just a 30 second commercial!

  5. Hehe, network ner, love that! I truly wish i was in a position to network, one day!
    I live in the countryside and single mum to 2 kids (who are now at school thankfully!) So lots more time to concentrate on my business.

    • Sonya — you DO network — it’s just online right now! You are very conversational with your fans and followers and have developed great relationships with them online — that is a networking skill!

  6. WOW you hit the jackpot! “More” is definitely not necessarily better. Your networking advice is great and highly relevant. I am always so turned off by individuals who shove their cards at you without first attempting to make a connection with you. When we are our genuine selves, and truly care to solve the pain point of our services, the connections become effortless. I would much rather pay someone for services who makes an attempt to connect with ME versus forcing me to connect with them. Tweeted this– the world needs to see!

  7. No, you aren’t the only networking nerd in the group. I am new to being an entrepreneur and have picked through a few networking groups that I go to, and did so for a year… and this is the point I determine… did I gain anything, did I build the relationships that will outlast me going to this group, will people still refer to me if I do or don’t go and the costs of money and my time and I have determined that some are no longer worth it but created a benefit while it lasted. Great job

  8. Excellent networking tips Cathy. Thank you for sharing :)

  9. I used to network for a living when I was at the chamber of commerce. My job was to put people together and I really enjoyed it. Since I put my focus on my own business, my in-person networking has fallen by the wayside — mostly because I never really saw any benefit to my business. I will have to ponder your comment about networking with a purpose and see if I can get back into it with that goal in mind. Thanks so much!