What is networking
Man is a social being. And that means social connections play a big role in our life. Many useful acquaintances can solve almost any problem in a person’s life – from finding a child in a good school to getting a high position. And if you immediately thought that this article will go about working on the Internet (and you could think so, because net is a network, and work is work), then you are mistaken – it will be a question of building useful business (and not only) links.
Wikipedia tells us that networking is “a social and professional activity that aims to quickly and effectively solve complex life problems and business issues with the help of a circle of friends and acquaintances.” This is the most accurate definition of networking, however, I would like to add that it is not just friendship for the purpose of profit, but building relationships based on trust, sympathy and a desire to help.
Theory of Six Handshakes
Networking is based on the theory of six handshakes proposed by American psychologists Stanley Milgram and Jeffrey Travers back in 1969. The essence of this theory is that each person is familiar with any other inhabitant of the planet through a chain of acquaintances consisting of only five people (that is, six handshakes). Psychologists have deduced this theory by conducting an experiment: envelopes were distributed to 300 subjects, which contained the name of the person who needed to transfer the envelope. But it was possible to transmit only through his friends. At the end of the experiment, psychologists calculated how many people on average each envelope went through and the result was quite impressive – in just five people. It turns out that each of us is familiar with, say, Barack Obama, Johnny Depp or Bill Gates, through just five people.
The theory of six handshakes at one time was tried to be confirmed by Microsoft using the data from the MSN messenger, and as a result, they got 6.6 handshakes, which may well prove the truth of Milgram and Trevers theory.
Proceeding from all this, it becomes clear that every person has absolutely any connections that can be useful to him both in his personal life and in the business environment. It remains only to make these connections correctly. In networking there are several “rules”, by adhering to which you can quickly expand your network of acquaintances.
1. Take the first step. Wherever you are, and where the situation contributes to the establishment of new acquaintances – take the first step towards other people. If you stand and wait for you to start talking to you first, you will be expanding your dating network for a very long time. You can get acquainted anywhere – at a social event, at a business conference, in line at the cashier for tickets, at an exhibition of cats, and so on.
2. For networking, use all available communication methods — face-to-face, phone, email, social networks, etc. Each of these methods has its own rules of communication – for example, by e-mail in most cases they do not communicate in short messages, like in social networks. Adhere to these rules, which are established by society, and you can make contacts even more efficiently.
3. Always be ready to meet. Carry a sufficient number of business cards in case you have a successful acquaintance. Without business cards in networking is not enough – because a person who communicates a lot with new people is not able to remember everyone. Business cards are convenient because in addition to your name and contact information, they can also remind you about what you do and what services you provide. Show enough attention to the business card, handed to you by the interlocutor. Do not put it in your pocket without looking. First, consider it and ask your interlocutor about something, for example, which number is better to call in a particular case, or check with him the specifics of its activities. After the attention shown, you will have a much better chance that the other person will remember you, and in a positive light.
4. Keep in touch constantly. Effective networking does not imply that you met a person, exchanged business cards and immediately forgot about his existence until the moment you need his services. When networking you need to constantly but gently remind yourself. At a minimum, send greetings to all your contacts with important events in their lives by email or on social networks. But consider also the degree of closeness of your relationship with a specific person – it is not necessary to focus on sensitive events from a person’s personal life, if you are not close enough with him.
5. Spread only positive information. During the construction of useful links, try to talk only about positive things. Positive always has to itself.