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If you are the type of person who says, “Eww gross, networking…” then you probably won’t read this article.

no way

If you already value your network, or if you are just building up your network from a small or malnourished one, then the title of this article most likely has caught your eye. I am hoping to assist you in reshaping the psychology of how you look at networking.

The ability to network is said to be one of the most important skills in business. The creation of the connection necessary in adding someone to your network will yield value that will exceed that of technical skill or sales ability.

Adding one person to your network means you have added everyone in that person’s network to your own. For the purpose of the article we will look at increasing your network transactionally.

I want to be clear though; do not look at networking as collecting people. You will not improve your network through greed. If you are asking “What can this person do for me?” then you are way off the mark of the purpose of networking.

In the short-term you may gain some minimal benefit by using a person who was attempting to network with you. If that person realizes your intentions you will never see or hear from them again.

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Don’t ever forget, word of mouth has a way of policing business and social circles. It can be your brand’s best advertising or a huge red flag letting those valuable community members, investors, mentors, etc. know to stay the hell away from you.

What you should be asking consistently is “How can I add value?” to this person’s life, business, or network. You need to add water for your plants to grow.

Host an event. Hook your people up with some free swag. Send a handwritten letter on a holiday or for no reason other than you felt like it.

More importantly, determine the skills, capabilities, and expertise you can share with your people. If you do not nurture your network it will not be there when you really need to call upon it.

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Do not hold expectations of reciprocation. Do not expect that just because a friend is the public relations director of a local professional sports team that they will get you free tickets and meet and greets with the star players.

If you handle the relationship correctly that same P.R. friend may make an introduction on your behalf to the team owner that may blossom into a mentorship or business partnership that may put you on a positive course to financial or career betterment.

You never know what you will take away from your network, but you should always show genuine appreciation it when it happens.

Below is the list I have compiled of ten reasons to start looking at your network from a more positive and high value perspective. I hope you take value away.


1. You will need your network at various points in your career and your personal life.

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Your network may be instrumental in finding your next jobs, investors, customers, and possibly even life-partners.

People in my network have gotten my foot in the door at five out of my last six jobs. Customers and friends are consistently sending me referrals from their networks. They do the introductions for me and the connection and rapport are established, allowing us to quickly get down to business.

This leads to increased efficiency and inevitably higher productivity. You can even call upon your network to answer everyday questions like “How do I start a blog?” or “Can you come by and help me fix this fence that blew over?”

2. Your network is a cure for loneliness.

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Being lonely is known to decrease life expectancy and overall health.

As an adult it may seem hard to go out and make new friends. We spend so much time working. By the time we punch out at the end of the day we are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. We want to just go home, eat dinner, and then go to bed. There is no time to forge new friendships.

Perhaps you tell yourself that. Maybe you say you are not good at being sociable, especially in larger groups or busy venues.

We make relationships through shared experiences, proximity, activities, and through working relations. Look for these moments to make a connection.

Introduce yourself. Ask for their name and phone number or a business card. That person you are meeting has similar interests or routines, or most likely you would not have met them.

3. Networking is an improvable skill with tremendous value.

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So you went to an event and ate a big plate from the buffet line and by the time you were done you realized all the interesting people in the event had grouped off and are now connecting and you are the odd one out.

Do not judge yourself too harshly. Learn from your mistake and eat before you arrive to the next event.

Position yourself in the venue where you will get the most exposure and shake as many hands and banter with as many people as you can. You will definitely do better on the next go-round.

4. Your friends and family deserve you having a solid network.

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Just as stated in number one, your people will need you at times.

Maybe you do not have the carpentry or general labor skills to put that fence back up. Chances are somebody in you network does. If they do not, someone in their network might.

You can help that friend get the fence up one way or another via your network.

5. Networking is a key to success.

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There is no magic elixir or get rich quick scheme that is guaranteed to work. If you do the right things the right way you will exponentially increase your chances at succeeding at any task you set out to accomplish.

Countless times I have heard of networks being the most important variable in creating advantageous situations or just bridging the gap from opportunities to strengths. Within your network lives your personal, financial, and business advisors.

I define expertise as not knowing all the answers, but by knowing where to go to get any answers I cannot provide. I go to my network for those answers every time.

6. There is no compelling reason not to network.

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It does not matter what you try to say to talk yourself out of meeting new people or networking with others. It is all bullshit.

You know it is true. You are absolutely not doing anything better for yourself than you will by making a new friend.

What is the worst that will happen if you try?

7. Networking is actually fun!

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No, seriously, meeting new people and looking for shared interests is a really good time.

If the connection is not happening, then just move on to the next interaction. That last person may be a dullard or overwhelmingly negative. You don’t need those type of folks in our network. At best they will only add minimum value to our life.

That next person you greet may be the perfect snowboard partner or a fellow fan of your favorite sports team that you can share cheers and boos with.

When you are networking you are on your A-game, as are the others you meet. You all are winners together and that’s a lot of fun.

8. Networking allows us to add value.

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That is one of the goals. I have established in number one that you will need your network.

In number four I mentioned that your network will need you as well. You get to indiscriminately add to other people’s lives and businesses by what you, yourself bring to the table.

You each have individual skill-sets and come with capabilities and universal understandings that you can input whenever called upon.

9. We already use social networks.

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Countless hours on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, MySpace, Tinder, etc. have created an impressive ability to use the tools of the modern world to reach out without regard to distance or time lapsed since last connection.

We have been curating the information we have determined is right to release to the world. We have built a brand of ourselves. That brand may be that we take a lot of pictures of our kids, or we go to concerts and shows often, or we’re outdoor enthusiasts.

Believe it or not, giving likes and hearts and pokes and shares, we have been already networking. Having random friends you’ve never met in person on Facebook is not as valuable as getting together with them in the real world. It sure is a start.

You are already honing networking skills without even realizing you are doing it.

10. Your network is your net worth.

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It is a cliche we have all heard and it’s true. They say you are only as great as your five closest friends.

Chances are, if you have not been consciously building your network, it is probably in a pretty poor state. Do not fret. You can start upgrading and updating your network right now.

First cut the weeds out of your life. The takers, losers, addicts, blamers, complainers, and victims will only allow you to perpetuate your loser status. They will make you feel like they are. Minimize or eliminate time with the weeds and reinvest that time in your friends that are good people.

If they seem to have it together, chances are they have friends that do as well. Their friends have friends that are high value people as well. Increase exposure with the bright and shining people and watch your life get transformed accordingly.

It is truly a simple and elegant design. Networking opens doors for opportunity to find us. It is a unique way of improving our own luck.

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It is no harder than when a child walks up to another on the playground and asks if they want to play with them. They probably do if they are worth playing with. Get out there and make a new friend today.{1}

By now you should feel invigorated by this updated outlook on networking. You should no longer react to the word or the idea in a negative way.

Embrace change, make some new friends, and look for creative and fun ways to continue to grow that network. What are you waiting for? Get to it now.

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{1}I keep referring to making new friends throughout this article. You may be saying, “Making friends and networking are not the same thing.” I respond by saying yes and no.
While making a true, good friend takes time. It requires the establishment of rapport, trust, and sharing. In a lot of ways it is very similar to networking.
Would you really want to add someone to your network that you would not consider hanging out with? You better believe that those in your network should become, or perhaps already are, your friends.
How can I know that you don’t do coffee, but do do mountain bike rides, if we are not close? We can only truly connect with those we like and share similar interests with.
You may not share the details of your daughter’s dance recital with a networked person, whereas you may with a friend. You still should share a bond with everyone in your network or the connection will fizzle out. It will become lost.

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