The moment the word “networking” is mentioned, people immediately have negative thoughts. For some reason, networking has been negatively perceived by society. The actual term for networking is socializing, but the word “networking” is more business centric and sounds more corporate.
The simplest definition of networking is a series of activities where you get to know people, from strangers to acquaintances, to friends, and beyond.
One of the fundamental elements to success is the people around you. Remember, no matter who you are and what you do, you will always be dependent on other people to achieve your goals and dreams.
Networking is developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with those who have similar interests. However, many people think networking is a business activity in which one must attend events to collect business cards. The advise that I told all my clients to remember is that networking is not working. Networking is relationship building.
The secret of networking is in the power of relationship. Meaning you have to reach out to other people, you need to help them without asking anything in return, and you need to nurture your network. The potential relationship itself should be the goal that you pursue, not what you could get from the relationship.
You have to be the type of networker that people actually want to connect with. You need to build a genuine relationship with that person, be it personal or professional. You need to make yourself a valuable asset to you the person you are networking with.
Remember, networking is about who likes you and who respects you. There is a HUGE difference between knowing someone (or having someone “know” you) and having someone like you and respect you. People have to like you first before they can respect you.
So, be likeable.