What is networking?
Google’s definitions for “Networking” are:
- Connect as, or operate with a network.
- Link computers to operate interactively.
- Interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.
In business networking events we find all three definitions represented. We meet the people that are there to exchange cards, tell others about their business; with little interest they may wait to hear what others have to say in order to complete the networking process, but they do not engage in conversations that elevate the connection into a lead.
In the second meaning of networking google’s dictionary talks about connecting computers to create a network, but that reminds me of the people that attend networking events but barely connect with anybody, they are just there for the purpose of exchanging cards in order to get people’s e-mail addresses to add them to their mailing list in order to establish that computer connection.
The third meaning of networking is what true business networking is all about. Business owners interacting with other people to discuss business topics, exchange information, acquire contacts; of course for the purpose of developing and growing their business. This type of business networking will definitely reap the benefits for the business as that connection will turn into a good lead that will refer others to the business and that may turn into a faithful customer one day.
The success of business networking depends on the mindset one develops as they approach networking events. To reap the benefits for the time spent at a business networking event one has to be authentic about meeting people, show interest to know more about other represented businesses, reflect clear objectives when exchanging cards, develop a business connection that is built on respect and a willingness to contribute knowledge and exchange referrals. Is your business wasting time or reaping benefits during business networking events?