<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=996474224689458&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

Questions? Call Us (617) 712-0447

The true value in networking is not what you think it is

The true value in networking is not what you think it is

David Henzel, founder of the Love not Fear Alliance. Coaching organizations to build companies their teams and customers love.

Networking and connecting with like-minded professionals provides some of the greatest benefits out there for entrepreneurs. Not only do you get to share your own vision and services with others and hear about theirs, but you also get to form potential partnerships and lifelong friendships. Add to that the fact that many entrepreneurial organizations or sector conferences and seminars, which provide opportunities for networking, take place in different destinations makes it seem like a win-win situation to both make new friends, further your career and discover a new region in the world. But the best value to be had from all of these endeavors is to learn about and gain knowledge from others. 

Rather than making explaining yourself the focus of social interactions in this context especially, work on truly absorbing the information you can absorb from others. Whether it is what they do precisely that you learn more about, what challenges they face and how they overcome them or even what someone’s daily habits are, there is something to be learned from everyone if we are open to it. Seek to understand more so than to be understood. There will always be opportunities to share how it is you can provide value, which is also important. But the best benefit of networking and connecting with others lies in what you can learn from people. This  results in personal growth and will serve to your advantage in both your professional and personal life.   

Here are five tips for how to best benefit from networking:  

Be the Dumbest Person in the Room

Don’t ever shy away from being the dumbest person in the room. In fact, one should seek out always being the dumbest person in the room, because let’s face it if that’s the case, that means you are in good company. But even if there are just five people in the room, who you suspect are smarter than you, then rather than avoid them, pursue establishing a connection because you know there will always be the opportunity to learn from such individuals. 

Be Humble 

Make sure to be humble, because if you act oppositely such as cocky and as if you know everything, then you will never actually learn anything and grow. If you act above it all then people won’t feel the drive to explain anything to you and the opportunity to acquire further wisdom will be lost. 

Be Vulnerable

Not only is it great to be humble, but it’s even better if you are also vulnerable. If you are really open when sharing who you are and what you do to others and especially if you share what is stressing you out, then you create the opportunity to draw those people in that are right for you and to automatically those away who don’t resonate with you. It’s a good thing to gain clarity right off the bat whether you vibe with someone or not, and being vulnerable opens the doors to bonding with people much faster.  

Do the Lifeline Exercise

The Lifeline Exercise involves drawing a line representing your lifespan and marking the greatest ups and downs that have taken place in what would be their corresponding timeslot on the line. This exercise provides valuable insight into people’s lives, bringing people who do it and share their findings together much closer. We do this exercise as a team-building activity in my business as well as at retreats such as with the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). Another way to apply this exercise is to consider asking someone in conversation what their highs and lows have been in business and otherwise as a gateway to building a deeper relationship. 

Reach Out

If there is someone you know you want to meet at any sort of networking event, then you can always reach out to them personally prior via e-mailing or messaging them. Or better yet, set up a coffee date or meet up for a meal prior to or during the event. If there are a number of people you know you want to connect with, you could always go big and pre-arrange a group lunch or dinner that could take place on the sidelines of the conference and then send them out invites.   

Networking and forging social connections with fellow professionals is one of the most beneficial activities one can engage in personally and professionally and is arguably one of the best benefits of doing business. Sharing what you do with other business-owners will most likely result in someone needing your services. So, not only do you get to provide value to others, but in the meanwhile, you also get valuable insight into other people’s interests and methods, the knowledge of which can spill into different areas of your life. But so many people don’t set aside the time or budget to make participating in extracurricular activities with like-minded professionals a priority. The bottomline is: to grow and succeed you may have to get out of your comfort zone.  Being humble and vulnerable, which means being open and sharing with others, is like the number one superpower that most people are unaware of. Just take a leap of faith and approach these opportunities like everything in life, with curiosity and love and not fear and you will reap immense rewards from such experiences.

New call-to-action