Connecting and networking. Sounds simple, maybe too simple. These are not new concepts after all. Rather, connecting and networking have been the cornerstones of good business since business began. There is no doubt that the internet has opened up a new world of content, connections and networking possibilities.
The explosion of digital and social media has fundamentally changed the way we function, communicate and do business both online and offline. Yet the technology that was supposed to connect us and bring us closer together actually seems to be having the reverse effect. Something about how we are networking right now just isn’t working.
We are often overwhelmed with myriad on and offline networking options to choose from. Every day we are pulled and stretched in hundreds of directions while maximising productivity, and to throw networking in to the mix of our already jam-packed diaries – well, it’s no wonder it ends up in the too-hard basket.
Add to this the pressure we unconsciously place on ourselves to be interesting and engaging, and the reality is we’ve put the work back in to networking, making it exhausting. We have to take back control of our time and network with the right people – those that matter.
Building a more valuable network means taking back ownership and control of your network and approaching your actions and connections with strategic deliberation. It is both an art and a science. It is an art as it requires basic human skills in communication, connection, authenticity and the ability to be ‘in the present’ and engaged.
It is a science because building your network and being in control requires an ongoing analysis, audit and sustained curiosity around leveraging your networking in the best way possible. It’s about seeing the lines that connect people and ideas and opportunity.
This means reworking the way we network and connecting with others on a personal level with authenticity, meaning and value.
3 ways to take control
Own your vision and goals
Identify the help you need to get back in control. If you want to fast-track your success, you need to take responsibility for your life, own the choices you make and spend time with those with a similarly positive attitude. Then you’ll become a more proactive, positive individual with the ability to shape your own future.
- Align yourself with thinkers and doers
These people may have achieved what you dream of achieving and you’ll be pushed to take the right actions and be inspired to move in the direction of your goals. This group of superpowers will build your success, boost your positive mojo and keep you in a place of constant growth.
- Spend time with those who dream big
Spend time with glass-half-empty thinkers and you feel low and de-energised. Spend time with individuals who dream big and see the cup as overflowing. They put fuel to the fire in your belly, put a spring in your step, and water the seeds of ideas that grow in your mind.
Networking is not about being in touch with as many people as possible or attending every event at the opening of an envelope; it’s about finding the right people and the right relationships; it’s about nurturing them so that at every moment there is the mutual exchange of value, insight, connection and information to drive the professional and personal success of another.
Choose to make an impact by developing your own network to connect with the right people in the right way and to cultivate those relationships over the long term. Get back in control and you will change your game, make the impossible possible and achieve your goals. Get back in control and build connections that really matter.