by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Networking, Professional Development, Social Media, StrategyTagged as: Value
How much time have you “invested” in networking within Social Media sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook? While some people merely respond to connection requests, others are practically addicted.
There is a preconception that networking is your connection to your contacts. While partly true, networking is really the positive act of strengthening these connections. By this definition, successful networking isn’t defined by the stack of business cards you have on your desk or the number of cocktail parties you attend. And it isn’t defined by how many connections (or “friends”) you have on Linked in or Facebook.
Web-based networking sites are convenient administrative tools to organize the people you know, and connect through to the people they know. In a certain sense, these sites are no different than a road system between multiple cities. Without cars on the road, the roads have no purpose. The same can even be said for your contact list in your computer or on these networking sites: unless you do something with them, the contacts may as well not be there. Your contacts are not Networking, they are Notworking.
(Of course, Social Media can also be used to discover new connections as you spend time within online communities, but too often this effort is also in the Notworking category.)
Strengthen your connections by following these three steps:
1) Connect: This is where social networking sites can help; after all, they are responsible for keeping their information up-to-date.
2) Walk in their shoes: For each of your contacts, identify what is important to them.
3) Give to Get: Find ways to give them what they value. It could be many small things over time (newspaper clippings, web links, food and entertainment) or it could be more immediate (job referrals, new business opportunities, etc)
Change your Social Media time from fiddling to focus. Walk in the shoes of your contacts, then Give to Get. Notworking will get you nowhere, but networking will get you where you want to be.
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