Some say networking is a core business skill. I see it as something we do every day. it is simply building new relationships or on existing ones. It is not just a skill for sales and marketing people but also a skill for everyone in whatever line of business they are in. Since it has become a 'must-do' part of business it has however been adopted by people who confuse it with 'selling'. They hand out their business card as though they are on a mission to beat a record they created at the previous event. A numbers game for many, 'networking' is now a functional task, something we can switch on or off…all so wrong.
Penny Power founder of Ecademy recites the story, “ The other day, at 7.15am in the morning on my train to London I had someone selling me 'CRM Software', he launched straight into his pitch, silently being mocked by onlookers. He excused himself by saying to me 'you're a networker aren't you; you know what it is all about!'
That sad little man with his sad little view of life was actually trying to transact, not network.”
Networking is being friendly, it is being open to people and listening and chatting about random events and thoughts. It is not a transactional opportunity. The skill of networking is to have no agenda at all. The only motive should be to listen and learn from the person you are meeting and listen out for aspects of their life that you identify with or know someone who would. Where you spot an opportunity, think ‘help’ not ‘sell’, keep asking questions and when you feel it may be worth a follow up get-together ask permission to call to arrange.