Almost daily I read messages online that say something like “Hi, I’m here to network, I have a great business to offer.” Networking and advertising are two very different concepts.
There is an excellent book on the market by Tim Sanders titled “Love Is the Killer App”. It’s a strange title but an excellent book about networking. Though the book was written in 2003, it’s still a book I highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn about networking.
According to one online dictionary, the definition of networking is “sharing information.” I can see why people believe that saying, “Hey I sell such and such come and buy from me,” might be networking. These advertisers believe they are sharing information.
If you look at the word “network” you’ll find that it’s a group of people with a similar interest or bond. To become part of a network, you would need to share this similar interest or bond. So with this definition in mind, unless you’re with a group of others wanting to promote your business there is not a similar interest or bond when you say, “I have a great business to offer.”
So how can you network? Much will depend on who you’re speaking to. If I’m talking with another mom, I’ll share resources I’ve found on parenting. I’ll also share my own thoughts and ideas. If I’m talking with other people in network marketing, I’ll again share my ideas along with books and websites I’ve found to be helpful. When I meet people who are working on losing weight, I share the many tips that I implemented into my life. These are all examples of networking. I am sharing resources that bond me and the other people with a similar interest.
Your personal network is going to grow as you continue to find people you share a similar interest with. Just the other day, my daughter and I were talking. She said, “Mom when you look, you can find something in common with almost anyone.” She came up with many examples. She mentioned pet ownership, love of rain, dislike of a certain food, etc.
When I’m online, I always read people’s profiles seeking an area of common interest. It might be a favorite author or it might be a zodiac sign. I specifically look for common ground and common interests.
People tend to buy from those they know. When you seek out common ground, you’ve established a way for others to know you. Save the ads for the classifieds and put your energy into networking and making friends.