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What Is Networking?

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Posted by Jim Emmerling

Mar 22, 2016 2:30:00 PM

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I recently attended a large networking event put on by a recognizable Pittsburgh group, and throughout the event I spoke with many other professionals in the business world. I learned from them and what they had to say, and I also made some good contacts to follow-up with later in the week. This networking experience was fairly similar to most of my networking experiences, but after the event I couldn't help but think, "What is networking?"
 
It's often a term thrown around casually and can be used to describe almost any social interaction with an intention of gaining a connection or business, but I was thinking beyond that. What does it mean to network? What are my goals when networking? Why is networking so important? Walk with me as I unravel my thoughts on these questions and explain just what networking is to me. 


Networking can often seem convoluted. Are you talking to someone new just to get to know him or her? Are you trying to make a new friend? If you're just looking for new business will they be offended if you get right to the point and ask them about their business?  

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For myself, networking is always about making new connections and looking to grow my own business. This is the entire point of networking -- to build your network! So there is no reason to feel badly about talking to people with the end in mind of gaining a new connection or grow your business. At the same time, nobody wants to become your connection or be a part of your business if you don't genuinely care about him or her or aren't genuinely interested.

This is exactly why good networking takes tact. You have to be interested in what your new acquaintance has to say, where they come from, what they're passionate about and then ask about their business. I often try to make a joke or keep the conversation light at first until I know that some trust has been established, and then I look to talk about their business. 

Networking isn't just a way to grow business. It's a way to meet new people and establish new connections by learning about another and their business landscape. Thus, networking is all about meeting new people, making new friends, AND growing your business. These things can all happen at the same time -- especially since some of my good friends are my own clients at Em-Media.

Networking is crucial for driving business and remaining relevant in a changing business landscape. Making new connections helps you and your business remain top-of-mind for many people. Having an established network expands your circle of influence and helps you affect change in more areas of your life. On top of this, networking helps you become better at speaking about your business to others and helps you fine-tune some crucial social skills that are needed in the business world. 


Now that you know what networking is all about and how you can make it happen, go do it! Sign yourself up for a networking event or attend a group project with new people to help you make new connections and start building your network!

 

Interested in how social media can help you grow your network? Social media is an excellent tool for making new connections online and helping grow your business! Download our Infographic: Social Media Advertising to learn about which platform is right for you and how to invest your time and money in social media to help you grow your network.

DOWNLOAD: Free Social Media Infographic


 

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