Everyone talks about networking to find that next job, client, customer, or business opportunity. And there are endless networking groups and events happening these days.
It’s like ‘networking’ is the big new thing! Networking is about meeting people, making contacts, exchanging ideas, interacting with people. Is this something new? No way! We’ve been doing it since caveman days. Then, it was a bit different of course. More just grunts and a lot of sign language I imagine…
When you were at school, playing with your neighbourhood friends, playing sport, sharing hobbies, attending college/university, in your first job, going to parties or whenever you are socialising or working - you are basically doing what is called ‘networking’.
So life is just like one big networking event! I’m sure you’ve given your name and phone number to someone at some point in your life. And I don’t mean just for dating either!
Think of all the sayings and phrases you’ve heard over the years. Here’s just a couple to remind you...
- Don’t burn your bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
- Be on your best behaviour and mind your Ps and Qs
I remember one thing my mum told me when I first started work. You don’t talk about someone to somebody else unless you are prepared to hear it said in front of that someone. It’s funny, of all the things my parents ever told me, that is one thing that stands out. And I’ve always abided by that principle too. That way you don’t burn any bridges or get people offside.
I think these days with all the social media and technology, which is making the world an even smaller place, you need to be more mindful than ever about what you do and say. It can come back to bite you if you do or say the wrong thing. And remember once it’s on social media, you have put it out there for everyone to read and look at.
We hear a lot about how employers check out potential employees on Facebook or just Google them. I’ve heard of a few instances personally where this has been done and it has cost the person the job they went for.
It’s the same with companies as well. Negative articles or comments about them can give them a bad reputation. For instance, companies that seem to have the same position advertised on job boards frequently earn a reputation for having a high turnover of staff, and jobseekers steer clear of them for this reason.
Certainly to meet more people for job or business opportunities, it’s great that there are numerous networking events to attend. It forces us to get there and meet people who we possibly wouldn’t meet otherwise. However, don’t think it’s the only way. All the people you know and keep in touch with and through them the people they know, may have that connection to someone or something that could benefit you.
And likewise, you may have that connection for someone else too. After all, it’s about sharing what we know with people. It’s not just about what you can get out of it!