“It’s not about what you know, but who you know.”
Let that ring in your head for a while. The world is connected and no matter how much technology improves, your ability to connect with people will make or break you.
I used to think networking was something I needed to do for my business (which I do), but only until I built a certain level of client base then I could give it a rest (boy was I wrong).
When things really started to click for me is when I adopted the belief that networking is a lifestyle, not a goal.
It’s the same approach I take towards my health. Diets don’t work. It comes down to nutrition and fitness. What you eat and how often you exercise. I only eat sugar 2 -3 times a week and workout 5 times a week. That’s something I continue to do without an end date in mind.
My goal in networking, or “connecting,” (which I believe is a better term) is to meet with/or talk to at least 2 (preferably new) people a week. If I can grab coffee locally, that’s my preference. If not, phone or Skype will do. Over time that means I talked with 100+ people per year. I also track when and how I communicate with people, by date & form (meet, phone, email, etc.). Fortunately one of my strengths is remembering where our conversation ended, but I admit I cheat with LinkedIn most of the time.
My hope isn’t for you to be impressed with my story. What I do hope you get out of this post is how important it is to connect with others regularly. Whether you work a corporate 9 – 5 or have your own business, this is one of the 3 skills you need to succeed in life.
Figure out what system works for you by trial and error. Once you figure that out, use it daily. You and I need others to thrive. (We’re also social beings by nature, so the interaction doesn’t hurt either.) Nothing great was ever accomplished alone. Therefore: network or die.