Why do you network? Do you attend networking events to gather as many business cards as you possibly can? Or, do you attend them in hopes of finding key people you really like and want to do business with? Though the first option plays to my naturally competitive nature, I would rather leave a business networking event with a few cards of people I will keep in contact with, rather than 50 cards of people who offer services I will never need. I like to work with people I like and the only way to know if I like someone is by getting to know them. Getting to know them goes far beyond the information a business card can provide.
With the rise of social media, networking no longer requires you to get dressed up to make the best first impression. Networking can happen anytime from the comfort of your own home by accessing your favorite social networking sites. Whether you network online or off, the rules are, essentially, the same. The most effective networking isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. It’s about building relationships that can be mutually beneficial. Business is done by people, not Twitter accounts. Putting time into building strong relationships will pay off when you need a partner on a project, advice or even your next job.
I have heard many complaints that both networking and social media can be a waste of time, but my question in response to this is, “Are you putting time into creating the type of relationships you want, or are you just collecting business cards and friends on Facebook?”
Megan Lane is part of the client relations team at Imagine Marketing.
Contact Megan at email@example.com.