Networking, as you probably already know, is a requirement in most solopreneur situations. So please don’t blame COLIBRI for bearing the bad news. In fact, she hopes that by the end of this article you will be thinking about networking in a whole new way.
But, first, some definitions. According to Ivan Misner of Entrepreneur.com, “networking is leveraging your business and personal connections to bring you a regular supply of new business.” COLIBRI finds that definition a little cold and narrow.
Here’s the COLIBRI rewrite: “networking is maintaining and developing business and personal relationships to explore opportunities and experiences and move projects forward.” Doesn’t this sound more personal and inviting than “leveraging connections”?
Besides, if you approach networking just as a means to get a steady supply of new business, you won’t be successful at it. The reason is that you won’t care about the people you’re meeting, because you won’t even think of them as people.
Successful networking involves caring about people (including yourself) and what they do. Successful networking is an open-ended process that allows you to get to know people and share what each of you is creating in the world.
Real World Tips For Successful Networking
Here are some tips that will help you:
- Choose work that you genuinely enjoy, that way it will be easier to talk about
- Network around topics that you believe in, that way you can be sincere
- Find ways to care about the people with whom you network, that way you can be a good listener
- Think of networking as an opportunity, not just to find work, but to learn about life and experience people
Looked at this way, networking becomes a pleasure. And now it's your turn. What do you think about networking for love?
Misner, Ivan. What is Business Networking, Anyway? Entrepreneur.com, August 29, 2008. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/196758