I think many people have the mistaken notion about what is networking, according to my blog in BCJobs.ca. First off, people tend to think of a professional networker as someone who tirelessly passes out his business cards at every gathering, or someone who busily works a room at a cocktail or business function.
What is professional networking
In this article, I propose that true networking is actually a more low-key, long term activity. It’s something that you work towards over the long term, slowly cultivating quality relationships covering expansive social and professional networks.
You know who’s a true networker, when you ask them for a referral; they always seem to know someone who works in a particular sector or industry, or at least knows someone who does. They personally know of people who you can contact if you are looking for a way into an organization or group or business. A true networker isn’t someone you run into everyday, they are a rare breed. And if you want to be a true networker, I suggest in this article some useful guidelines for you to follow.
For instance, as a professional resume writer in Vancouver, I tell my clients that true networking isn’t about going to a business function just to collect business cards, or to find the maximum number of people you can talk to just to tell them about your business. It isn’t about being able to sell your services or products after going to one or two business functions.
I suggest that networking is a more subtle, “gentler” activity, where you focus on one person at a time. Your true purpose is to get to know the person, to learn about what she does, and to actually enjoy your conversation with that other person. Bear in mind that it takes years and years – a lifetime, really – to build up, and be part of, a wide professional and social network.
Note that I employ the words “part of”: a network is something that you are “part of”, not something that you use solely for personal gain. It’s something that you contribute towards, by offering referrals, helping others make connections, opening “doors” for others, etc. And if you make personally gains from your network, consider that to be an incidental, rather than primary, purpose of having a wide social network.
How to start networking
A great way to start networking is by joining a social or professional organization that you can volunteer with. This allows you to get to really know a core group of people, and from there, you will meet others. Service organizations, such as the Rotary Club, is a great place to meet people from other professional and social networks. Finally, to be a good networker, you must like meeting people and getting to know them.
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