Quite possibly the title of this post would have caught your attention. We all know about networking. We do it all the time, whether with the clients that we meet, the contacts that we make at seminars/workshops/cocktail parties or even when we strike up a conversation at the pet shop with a stranger and find mutual interests that lead to an exchange of phone numbers or Facebook/LinkedIn connection requests.
One aim of networking is to identify and connect with people who can help us to further our goals and ambitions or even assist us when required.
The big question in our minds is very often, “how can this person help us” or even a unilateral, “what can I get out of this person”.
The agenda of the latter is clearly one-sided.
Personally, I prefer to think the other way around and ask myself, ‘what can I do for this person” or “how can I contribute and add value to my network”.
In other words, I think of netweaving. It’s more gratifying.
Think about the times that you have been down or in trouble and a friend or acquaintance have stepped in and bailed you out or helped find a solution to your problem. Think a bit about how you have felt to receive timely help and have waited to return the favor or pay it forward.
What the other person has done has netweaved. They have established credibility and standing in your eyes and the perception that they are resourceful. Good ingredients for creating social and professional standing among one’s peers.
In addition, net weaving helps to build the foundation for a longer term association. This doesn’t mean that you cannot do networking. I suggest you do both.
Networking and netweaving both require seeking opportunities to work together, the difference lies in the context of the connection and the balance being sought.
My most successful friends and colleagues who have survived recessions, redundancies and bad patches have been net weavers. Their credibility and credentials being established as impeccable, people take their calls even when they have nothing tangible to offer or are in the wilderness. No wonder they bounce back magnificently!
How effective Netweavers create value for their network
So next time you have a networking opportunity, try connecting with others based on what you think you or your network can do for them. Think along the lines of how the person can be beneficial to others in your network and create an introduction at an appropriate time. Better yet, consider the areas where you and your new contact can work together to create a win-win situation all around.
Tip: Consider how you can create an all-round win-win over lunch or a meal like I did in my post Networkers who Lunch.
There is nothing worse than having a card book, or a social profile full of names without substance.
Think about your most recent networking interactions, whether in business, work, personal life or social media. Would you say you were networking or netweaving?
Is there any area where you can add value to your network? Do share your views in the comments box below, I’d love to read them.
PS. Do you use LinkedIn for expanding your network? Want to try out your new skill of netweaving? It all begins with knowing what you shouldn’t do. Click here to download my short guide 5 Mistakes Professionals Make on LinkedIn or on the image below and become the contact everyone wants in their circle!
This post originally titled ‘Do You Network or Netweave?’ was written in March 2012 and has been updated for relevance and new content.
Written By: Vatsala Shukla
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