If you want to be prosperous for a year, grow grain. If you want to be prosperous for ten years, grow trees. If you want to be prosperous for a lifetime, grow people.
Networking is about growing and cultivating people…..relationships, friendships, synergies, and trusts. Like IQ and EQ, high Networking Quotient (NQ) is a pre-requisite to personal and professional success.
Dr. Stephen Covey says in his epoch making book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that highly effective and successful people are neither dependent nor independent, in fact, they’re interdependent people. They derive strength from others and give strength to others. Successful people aren’t like islands; they’re not like leeches. They’re in fact like colonies where members interact with each others, help each others, support each others, integrate with each others; coordinate with each others, synergize with each others for the ultimate and collective good of the entire community. They survive on their mutual strengths; they thrive on their collective resources. Someone has rightly said that T.E.A.M stands for Together Everyone Achieves Miracles.
Networking is a very powerful tool for success in general and particularly in business. Do you know a referral generates 80% more results than a cold call and 70% of all jobs are found through networking? And this percentage becomes even more than 90% for senior jobs. The jobs that you see advertised in papers are just a tip of the iceberg. They’re not more than 5% of the total job market. Most people you meet with have at least 250 contacts. Anyone you might want to meet or contact is only 4 to 5 people away from you.
Job campaigns often stall because job-hunters leave their personal networks too quickly to go off into the world of “strangers.” Strangers will seldom be as responsive to you as people whom you’ve met before, even briefly. Surprisingly, your attendance at a trade show can qualify you as a “friend” in someone’s eye.
Make sure you get your job-hunt strongly established with personal friends and business acquaintances before you spend a lot of time answering ads, working with recruiters, or cold calling. Cold calling isn’t very appealing—that’s why they call it cold calling!
Let’s define Networking. Perhaps the best definition that I’ve ever read is by Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas in their book Successful Networking. They say:
“ Networking is making links from people we know to people they know, in an organized way, for a specific purpose, while remaining committed to doing our part, expecting nothing in return”.
Networking may sound as a modern day buzzword but actually, it’s as old notion as civilizations. “Do unto others”.
Networking is about giving
Let me clarify at this stage that networking isn’t about extracting benefits from people. Networking is about saying “please let me know if I can do anything for you”. Networking is asking people the question “what do you need that I can help you with?” It’s about “going an extra mile”. It’s about ‘giving and sharing”. The basic philosophy of networking is “Living is Giving”. Unconditional giving is a fundamental law of life.
“Enter thou among My bondmen; Enter thou My Garden”.
Unconditional giving is a habit of nature. It’s like sowing a seed that has the potential to germinate and sprout into a blossoming tree. It’s a law of nature that what goes around comes around. Life has a boomerang effect.
When you throw the boomerang, it comes back. It doesn’t return directly, but in its own roundabout way, it does return to its place of origination. The same thing is true of networking. If you take the initiative to give, to participate, and to contribute, benefits will come back to you in some way, although they’d not necessarily come back immediately from the same person. In fact, sometimes they’ll come back from totally unexpected places.