Networking is more about ‘farming’ than it is about ‘hunting. It’s about cultivating relationships. – Dr. Ivan Misner
If you’ve read “Achieving Success Through Social Capital: Tapping the Hidden Resources in Your Personal and Business Networks: Tapping the Hidden Resources in Your Personal and Business Networks” by Wayne Baker, you would know that attributes such as natural talent and intelligence that are usually considered as “individual attributes”, are in fact shaped by our social relationships. As social beings, we are build to help each other and make connections. A rich social network can help you learn new things and expand your opportunities. Most of us understand and acknowledge the benefits of networking. In this post, I address the top three misconceptions about networking that may be keeping you from finding your next opportunity.
1. Networking is about selling yourself
One of the biggest myths about networking is that it only about you. Networking is often interpreted as selling yourself, when in reality it is about building long-term relationships with people who you can help and who may potentially be able to help you. Develop a reputation for yourself and build contacts who can vouch for your future potential.
2. ‘Connections’ on social media are your real connections
A social media connection or an exchange of business cards means nothing if there’s no real reason to reach out. Start conversations with your connections and get to know them better. Understand that people who find the right opportunities do not chance upon them. They do so by building a rich network who are willing to connect them to the right opportunities.
3. Invest time networking only with people who can help you
“The currency of real networking is not greed, but generosity.” – Keith Ferrazzi
If you’re only looking to connect with the top-level people in your industry who can (potentially) help you, then you’re doing it wrong. Networking is about helping others as much as it is about helping yourself. Build a ‘spider-web structure’ by filling structural gaps within your network. By assisting others in your network and connecting diverse people you create value out of your connections and create your luck.