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What Networking Really Means (and how it can help you)

- Oct 31, 2013

According to George Ross, to be successful, you have to be able to relate to people; they have to be satisfied with your personality to be able to do business with you and to build a relationship with mutual trust.

Imagine you are a graduate of accounting from a state university and you have set yourself a target of working at a bulge bracket investment bank. What are your chances of getting into an industry that has “target schools”?

The answer: slim to none.

However, it is generally agreed that you can increase your chance of getting into competitive industries if you network. So what is networking and how can you do it effectively?

As the quote in the first sentence states relating with people is a key to success. Networking simply means relating to people. Don’t get turned off from what should be a natural activity because everybody is shouting “networking” and some experts are creating systems to help you learn how to network.

Networking is simple: learning to relate with people. You know one person and through that person, you know another person. With the people you know, you can be able to make forays into ventures that you couldn’t have done earlier on.

The social media age has lowered the barriers to entry in terms of networking. You can still utilize traditional forms of networking such as alumni groups, industry groups etc. However, the key methods of networking today are on the internet.

If you want to get to know people on the internet, then you should start using social media properly. You can join groups that interest you. Participate in group activities and communicate with others. One mistake many people make is only thinking “what’s in it for me?” For you to benefit from a network, you have to also give benefits. Find a way to help people. Be a person of value and when you need the help of your network, you would be more likely to get it.

Many people who are introverted tend to struggle at building business and professional relationships whether offline or online. This should not be so. Keep your networking efforts simple and you are unlikely to be overwhelmed. Choose one or two networking channels/social media networks and focus on it. Get rid of the fear of embarrassing yourself. Other people are just as eager as you are to meet new people. So there is no need to be afraid.

You should ramp up your networking efforts today. It just might be the key to you getting that job, winning a new business deal or meeting some new friends.

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