Networking is the New Revolution!
Here are some of the reasons why networking is growing at lightning speed:
The ability to express yourself.
Connecting to others locally and globally.
Connecting with people you may typically may not get a chance to talk to.
The economy crisis leads more people to post their profile and resumes on line in order to look for work, switch careers, and/or promote what they have to offer.
Higher prices lead to staying home more which means more time so it helps to beat boredom.
Networking sites are usually free to use.
Networking sites come in many formats. They offer a wide variety of applications, allowing users to be able to add profiles, photos, blogs, articles, classified ads, upload videos, and much more.
Joining different groups of interest has also made networking such a hit.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a popular networking site where alumni, business associates, recent graduates and other professionals connect online.
- Ecademy: Ecademy prides itself on “connecting business people” through its online network, blog and message-board chats, as well as its premier BlackStar membership program, which awards exclusive benefits.
- Focus: Focus is a business destination where business professionals can help each other with their purchase and other business decisions by accessing research and peer expertise. Most importantly, Focus provides open, quality information for all businesses that is freely available, easily accessible, and community powered.
- YorZ: This networking site doubles as a job site. Members can post openings for free to attract quality candidates.
- Xing: An account with networking site Xing can “open doors to thousands of companies.” Use the professional contact manager to organize your new friends and colleagues, and take advantage of the Business Accelerator application to “find experts at the click of a button, market yourself in a professional context [and] open up new sales channels.”
- Facebook: Facebook is no longer just for college kids who want to post their party pics. Businesses vie for advertising opportunities, event promotion and more on this social-networking site.
- Care2: Care2 isn’t just a networking community for professionals: It’s touted as “the global network for organizations and people who Care2 make a difference.” If your business is making efforts to go green, let others know by becoming a presence on this site.
- Gather: This networking community is made up of members who think. Browse categories concerning books, health, money, news and more to ignite discussions on politics, business and entertainment. This will help your company tap into its target audience and find out what they want.
- MEETin.org: Once you’ve acquired a group of contacts in your city by networking on MEETin.org, organize an event so that you can meet face-to-face.
- Tribe: Cities like Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, New York and Chicago have unique online communities on tribe. Users can search for favorite restaurants, events, clubs and more.
- Ziggs: Ziggs is “organizing and connecting people in a professional way.” Join groups and make contacts through your Ziggs account to increase your company’s presence online and further your own personal career.
- Plaxo: Join Plaxo to organize your contacts and stay updated with feeds from Digg, Amazon.com, del.icio.us and more.
- NetParty: If you want to attract young professionals in cities like Boston, Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Orlando Fla., create an account with the networking site NetParty. You’ll be able to connect with qualified, up-and-coming professionals online, then meet them at a real-life happy-hour event where you can pass out business cards, pitch new job openings and more.
- Networking For Professionals: Networking For Professionals is another online community that combines the Internet with special events in the real world. Post photos, videos, résumés and clips on your online profile while you meet new business contacts.
You’re an amazing person with a lifetime of experiences, skills, and talents to share. But if these qualities are not shared or properly displayed, the world may never know. No matter where you are in life and what your goals may be, people are the most important resource to help you meet your goals and dreams. Others need you, as well, in reaching their needs and wants.
This is why networking is so important. But only the right type of networking and not the ones that lead you to frustration, spending needless time, effort, and money. Genuine, positive, and mutual connections and relations should be the focus when networking. In other words, relational-business connections should be the goal as it is the balance between social and business networking. For example, if your connections are strictly business, then this may work a few times or temporarily but approaching someone with a business-only approach won’t be effective in the long run. In fact, it usually is a quick way to make a not-so-good first impression. You know these types of connections by their immediate e-mail or chat, “Hi. Check out my website and get a 20% discount if you purchase within the next seven days.” People tend to want to flee from the all-business “introduction”. Like in reality, many people, when approached with a sudden sales pitch, want to find a way to get out of there fast, make excuses, or if they do make a purchase, it’s very unlikely that they’ll buy again or tell their friends.
On the other end of the spectrum, those who are too sociable and/or mix too much social networking with business tend to run people off due to their lack of professionalism and unclear goals. You can spot these people by their profiles, websites, and conversations. “Hey, how ya doin’? So I have this commercial fishing business and, well, you should hang out with me some time and we can throw back a few beers, and, hey, check out the prices of each trip at my website.” Their pages and sites contain a mix of personal photos, some professional links, some scanned letters from loved ones, and their posted comments (whether written by them or posted by others) are extremely varied. This is not effective when trying to conduct business and to network for professional purposes.
A balance between the two (business and social networking) which I shall call “relational business” networking provides the best approach for positive, genuine, and mutual connections. These connections are similar to the way we successfully conduct business in the real world. A little bit of getting to know someone on a personal level mixed in with talks of business projects and collaborations. A conversation about a possible conference blended with a hint of humor. You get the point as it’s just natural and logical. In other words, just be REAL.
So go out and network to your heart’s content but keep it genuine, positive, and mutual. Then you will find much success through your networking efforts.