It’s a big deal. Everyone is talking about it. There are seminars, workshops, blogs, and podcasts. People are saying “network, network. Your wasting opportunities and time if you don’t network.” Here’s the thing. Networking is just a label that someone slapped on to that magic thing that happens when you meet someone, listen, share information, and genuinely connect with them. This is what true networking is.
The label of networking which is great because it can sum up an experience with one word is on all other counts terrible. The word networking has taken an organic exchange and made it a thing to do and a way to get. Because of my experiences with this I am going to outline ways NOT to network. This way we can all keep our heads straight and actions aligned with empowerment. Ok?
WAYS NOT TO NETWORK:
1. Befriend, interact, or give with the sole intention of getting for yourself. This comes off as very needy and will not work. You will either be found out right away or will simply attract people with that same vibration and then wonder why you do not have any authentic interaction.
2. Comment, post, tweet, or respond turning everything you say into a clear interaction about you. People know when they are not being heard. When you use social media and all interactions to always circle back to your own agenda, it is an immediate turn off. It is also an immediate red flag that you are simply promoting yourself. This is not the way to network. This is a way to get blocked, unfollowed, and unfriended. There is a place and a time for all communication and we can all tell if the moment is genuine or not. Here are a couple of guidelines:
Are focused on you and what you posted. They are an interaction that makes sense to the content they are commenting on. They praise or ask a question. Even if they are not in “support” of what your post is about, they make sense and are following the conversation or vibe you have presented.
Self centered comments:
Are all about the person posting. They are filled with “I”, the person’s business, title, their website, or their job description. They often don’t make sense in relation to the conversation. They missed an important detail you shared or they bypass it altogether. These comments are simply a way for the person, or their agenda to be seen.
If you are still not clear follow this rule. Interact 5 times without mentioning yourself. 5 posts about them and what they are actually talking about and 1 post about you and what you would like to share. Trust me, I am being very lenient here. I have known experts to put the ratio at 20 to 1.
3. Beg or berate people into linking, following, or interacting with you. Listen, if you feel the need to comment saying, “Hey why haven’t you commented on my post, liked my page, followed me?” You are doing it wrong. No one likes this approach and I haven’t met a person yet that goes for this. Think of it like dating. Have you ever responded to the whiny, “Hey why don’t you like me?” or the indignant, “Why don’t you dance with me, stay longer, etc?” No, right? Networking is the same thing. If you are whining, begging, or complaining, hoping that someone will then follow or interact with you, chances are very likely, you will lose the potential interaction and even more importantly, you will lose the respect. Don’t do it.
4. Posting photos, graphics, updates, or any other type of self centered media on other peoples profiles, walls, comment sections, blogs, etc. This is so offensive for so many reasons. Think of it this way, doing this is like going to someones house and putting posters of yourself on their walls. Doesn’t this simply sound ludicrous?! Who would do that right? Well, this is what it is like when you take the liberty of posting your media that has nothing to do with the other person (meaning you did not work together on it, they are not featured in it, it has nothing to do with them) and simply posting it on their internet spaces. Don’t do this.
WHEN IT’S OK TO TALK ABOUT YOURSELF:
1. Listen. Instead of how can I make this about me, my sale, my fame, what I want? Think, how could I offer value here? If you are really listening there are plenty of natural spaces to genuinely offer assistance. If that’s where you are coming from, you will find them. You don’t need to jump at every chance either.
“If you have wrapped your gift in your need, you have spoiled the offering.”
2. Use direct messaging. Contact the person directly with what you would like to offer, share, or say.
3. GIVE. Just give. When you genuinely give because you want to help, share, teach, show love, be a part of something good, that is all the marketing you will ever need. That person will remember you, bring you back, and refer you to others. Which is the whole purpose of the thing that has been coined “networking” in the first place!
Following this method will help you build a way of interacting that ultimately feels good for all, which will sustain you throughout time, and will provide evergreen opportunities. In addition, it allows for a relaxing experience. Cheers to your success in business and relationships of all kinds. Happy connecting!