Much is being made lately of “networking” on the internet to further your business aims. That sounds pretty good, but what is networking?
One of my favorite “go-to-his-books” resources for business information is Jeffrey Gitomer. His “Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships” has some very insightful gems.
On page 97, Jeffrey gives a “Universal Truth of Connecting: The question you have to ask yourself is: How can I make people better as a result of connecting with me? Note well: This is not just a strategy to connect at a networking event, this is a strategy to connect with anyone, anywhere, at any time.”
I believe an important truth in business is that people – in general – like to do business with people they know and like. Knowing and liking leads to trust and respect. And, isn’t networking, or connecting, all about building relationships of trust and respect?
In looking into this further, I came across the Stanford [University in Palo Alto, CA] Technology Ventures Program. I suggest following the link I associated with the title and you’ll find a wealth of information. In particular I came across a talk given by the executive director, Tina Seelig, Ph.D. that she had done in 2006 [the video is archived here: http://edcorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=1471 ]; she talks about making “sure that the relationships you build are ones you are proud of…and will not come back to bite you in the behind.” Well said!
With the proliferation of online networking sites, and the continuing practice of real world networking events [everything from trade shows to chamber of commerce mixers] the idea is to connect with people, establish relationships over time, and as Jeffrey Gitomer suggests you ask yourself: “How can I make people better as a result of connecting with me?”
This question, this idea of networking and connecting is valid and important whether you are attempting to network in the virtual or real world, or whether your business is a one-person home-based business or a multi-country global conglomerate.
***Tina Seelig, Ph.D. is the Executive Director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program where she is responsible for strategic planning, operations, and outreach efforts of STVP. In addition, Tina is the Director of the Stanford Entrepreneurship Network and the co-Director of the Mayfield Fellows Program.