Networking is a necessary part of business.
We’ve all heard the saying – ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’. And, it’s not even just about clients.
The best way to find the right people to work with is through networking too because you get to actually know who you’re working with. We prioritise this side of our networking.
But, most of the time, we end up surrounding ourselves with people who act and think almost like us. This is counterproductive to the whole purpose of networking and expanding our horizons. Individual Networking solves this problem.
Digging for the Right Options
The most important thing to remember when networking is that you may need to go to many events until you meet someone you actually want to work with. There is a slight problem here though. The chance of connecting well with someone, just because of an event, are slim to none. You don’t spend enough time with anyone in such settings.
Therefore, we suggest taking networking to an individual level. This may be difficult but there are ways around it.
Through social and digital means, when you meet someone at an event, stay in touch. If you find something to interact over or something interesting through a little catch up on LinkedIn, the next stage is then a coffee. (It’s almost like dating if we add smaller steps to the networking process. Just don’t make it speed dating).
And why are we suggesting this? Simply because, by meeting one person at a time, you can have a huge impact and crossover of ideas – you get to know people deeply.
From a working together perspective, keep one more thing in mind. No one is jack of all trades.
But by connecting with others who specialise in specific skills, you can collaborate with professionals, increasing the quality of your whole work. And, you can only do this through individual networking.
Success Stories of Individual Networking
What’s the point of just talking about individual networking?
Here are a few examples of how individual or small scaled networking can change your life:
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak met through a mutual friend who thought they would get along because of their shared interest in pranks and electronics. We all know how this relationship blossomed.
Jawed Karim, Steve Chen, and Chad Hurley the founders on YouTube all met working at PayPal with degrees in computer and graphic design. By knowing each other at a personal level, they found a niche in the market for sharing video content. Thus, they developed YouTube. Which has grown immensely and now has over 1 billion users worldwide.
Kanye West and Nike (Yeezy collaboration through Mark Smith) – this was Nike’s first collaboration with a non-athlete. Each of Kanye’s designs have always sold out. Being almost impossible to get your hands-on, eBay were selling some online pairs for $7,500.
Sell Yourself, not Your Product
When networking, it’s not about selling your products/service, but about selling yourself. People buy from people they trust and connect with.
And one more thing, please don’t be the annoying one at networking events. (You know what I mean).
Some Extra Advice
We also understand that networking can be hard for you. It’s easier to just tell someone they need to network more. If you would like to start small, you have alternatives.
There are many tools out there to help you. Here are a few popular ones:
Shapr – the business/professional version of Tinder. Whether your looking at hiring someone, job opportunities or just meeting someone who shares your interests, then connecting on Shapr is ideal as you. You get the option to see a profile and then swipe left or right, based on your interest. Its quick, easy and simple to use. Just a helpful suggestion – don’t treat shapr as a dating app. If it ends up landing you something more personal, good for you. But, most of the people are there to get some professional relationships started. We need to respect that.
LinkedIn – create your own profile with you past work experiences and connect with anyone you want. Some people are now treating LinkedIn as an online CV. This mentality is quite limiting. LinkedIn allows you to be expressive and share your professional life. Understand its potential and you can do a lot with it.
Here, we have also made a video on how to use LinkedIn for networking, that you can check here:
Eventbrite – if you get bored of connecting with people online because it goes nowhere. Attending networking events at different locations is a great way to meet new people you wouldn’t have met. On a similar note, you should also check Meetup – an app for group activities based on shared interests between individuals.
To learn more, get in touch today.