The word ‘networking’ has been used too often, without anyone really considering what the real value behind this hated word actually is. You’ve been told to ‘network’, because that’s the best way to get the jobs that’s not available on the job market, because that’s the only way you can climb up the corporate ladder and et cera. But is that what networking really is?
Here’s what networking is not.
Networking is not about socializing.
No, a hundred times no. No matter what the people around you tell you that networking is the equivalent of socializing, it is definitely not. Because do you go around talking to strangers, exchanging name cards when you are socializing? Socializing is an activity that you participate in to make friends, real and genuine friends. Networking? Just a cool name to describe an activity that you participate in to get as many real contacts of people, hoping someday, some way or another, they will come to your aid as you will to them.
But can they co-exist? I mean, true networking shouldn’t just be about talking with strangers with an intent. Can you be socializing and then 10 years down the road realize that you need your friend’s help and thereafter, that social network is now your networking equivalent?
Why the hell not? It should co-exist. And the term that should be used more than often instead is for us to build a social network, not with the intent of hoping that one day you’ll need their help or vice versa, but simply because you share common interests (or even colliding ones) that sparked a conversation. It really should start from the heart. I mean if it starts from the brain, then you’re sending the wrong signal to whoever you’re talking to because you will, one way or another, manipulate your intent into subtle parts of the conversation and trust me, oh, they know.
Networking isn’t overrated, it has just been used simply too many times that nobody knows what the real meaning is anymore. It is unfettered conversations with random people. And we have participated in networking almost since the day we stepped into kindergarten−it’s just that during those younger times, things were less complicated and we simply want to know someone new and make new friends. We exchange information because we want to, not because we need to. So why can’t we retain that innocence in networking since kindergarten?
We were born to network.
Without malice, without intent and without guile.
Networking needs to come from within−with integrity, with sincerity and with your heart.