Love it or loathe it, networking is an essential component of today’s business world. Aside from some extroverts who thrive on the social engagement involved in networking and love cold-calling and working a room, many see it as a somewhat superficial exercise that lacks authenticity. However, the research says something different. According to Neil Munz-Jones, author of ‘The Reluctant Networker’, up to 70% of positions are filled via networking and he has numerous stories of how networking led to the sale of new consulting projects.
Connectivity provided by the internet means that research and exchange of ideas prompting cooperation and collaboration is easier than ever and doesn’t involve ‘door-knocking’. In fact, the technology has provided a safe first step for reluctant networkers to approach strangers. Shifting our thinking about networking from the ‘who can give me a leg-up?’ view to ‘who is like-minded and can benefit from our services?’ is the first step in viewing it as a valuable and authentic part of building mutually beneficial relationships.
If you think about it, networking is only an embarrassing exercise if you are a snake oil seller. If you have faith in your company, and the services and products you sell, why would you not want to share that with others?