Sunday, January 8, 2012

Big Challenge #2: Most Networking is Superficial

Last week you will remember that we discovered how to overcome networking's biggest challenge: inefficiency.

Welcome to part two of a three part series about the major challenges in business networking and what you should do to overcome them.

Most networking today is superficial. The process of people getting together on a weekly or monthly basis does not generally lead to meaningful relationships. When our knowledge of each other does not extend beyond the 2 to 5 minutes that we spend with any individual at an event, then our relationship never really has the opportunity to mature. The barrier to passing higher quality contacts or advocated introductions is the absence of real knowledge of and trust in the competencies of others. Unfortunately, these brief interludes do not lead to the depth of knowledge or intimacy needed.

Would you jeopardize your best and most coveted relationships by connecting people who you barely know? 

So what’s the cure? Go beyond your name tag understanding and pick one or two people to meet with after each event. These are not sales meetings, so look for people whose products and services are complimentary to yours and learn about them. Get to know their background, what they’re doing now, and what their goals are. The more that you invest in learning about and helping these people the more you will begin moving your networking relationships from superficial to intimate.

As intimacy is built you will gain momentum not only from how the contacts that you are making help you, but also from what the community buzz is about you. If you invest in others the community will invest in you.

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