By Maria Thimothy, Sr. consultant at OneIMS who helps businesses grow by creating & capturing demand & managing & nurturing relationships.
Networking is often hailed as a panacea for helping businesses expand their reach and grow profits. In fact, networking is a term that is as overused and misunderstood as marketing, with people thinking that success in these areas means needing to indiscriminately reach as many people as possible. As a result, people find networking overwhelming and are unsure how to really make it work for them. The secret to good networking, much like good marketing, is finding the right audience. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping to find the right connections, learning to network organically and in a targeted way can be far less work and much more beneficial to your business. When it comes to networking, less really is more.
Be open to engagement.
No matter how business-centric the concept of networking is, at the end of the day, networking is about connecting with people. Much like in our personal lives, if you are not open to meeting new people and interested in them as individuals, you will probably fail to find meaningful and mutually beneficial connections. Think about networking as a two-way street where you can offer and receive benefits through the connections you foster. Be open to the idea that your next connection could come via any source, even ones that, at first, do not appear as potential networking opportunities.
For example, you may have a major client with whom you have a great relationship, but you’ve never thought to ask them for new business leads or referrals. Or it could be that a small startup business begins following you on social media and as you engage with them, you realize there is great…