(written by John Niland)

Networking in the 21st Century

 With all the emphasis on social selling, you might imagine that the days of face-to-face networking are nearly over.  However, I would like to put forward 10 reasons why it’s worthwhile overcoming whatever challenges you might be experiencing with this precious skill.

These are in no particular order. And you may wish to add some of your own.

  1. Human interaction: no matter how much technology has evolved, human beings still need interaction with each other. Even on high-quality video calls, most of us know that’s is still not the same as meeting a person in three-dimensions.

  2. Trust: while there are many elements of trust that can be built in other ways (for example; credibility) there is a human (or “chemistry”) dimension to trust that can often only be established face-to-face.
  3. Feedback: No matter what stage we are at in our career or life, feedback is essential for us to develop, succeed and prosper. While some of this can be gained in other ways (surveys, open-ended questions in fora, emails etc), some of the most “delicate” (therefore valuable) feedback requires a degree of trust. Furthermore, much feedback is non-verbal. So if you are telling a story and the other person’s eyes are wandering; you’ve just got some feedback!
  4. Opportunities: I am not claiming that networking is the only source of opportunity – not even that it’s the best source of opportunity. But is IS still an important source. It’s often through networking that we establish our key alliances, partners, information sources etc…. that in turn lead to opportunity.
  5. Information: If you have ever moved country or sector, you probably know at first-hand how vital it is to meet people, in order to learn some all-important facts about how to navigate your new terrain. There is another form of information that we all need: about the future. Networking is a great way to hear about what’s coming.
  6. Sense of belonging: Despite all our connectivity, we humans are tribal creatures. Many report that the multiplicity of connection is actually making us lonelier than ever. While we’ve probably been to those social events that have made us feel even lonelier than when we left home, our ability to talk to strangers is also the gateway to finding friends. Finding your “tribe” is very energising and motivating.
  7. Learning and development: When we interact, we expose ourselves the possibility of learning. Some of that may be painful (for example, being ignored). Yet, if we avoid the pain, we also avoid the learning.
  8. Sense of self in action: Without doubt, it is possible to have a sense of self and live in relative isolation. At Self-Worth Academy, we will never claim that networking (or indeed, anything!) is a pre-condition of self-worth. But many of us have learned to network as an expression of self-worth, and gained great joy in the process.
  9. Testing out new approaches: No matter how successful you have been to date, the future is not going to be the same as the past. So it’s important to adapt and innovate. Networking is an easy, low-cost way of doing so. You can try out a new introduction or story, and see immediately how people respond.
  10. Getting help and support: We simply cannot do everything. No matter how talented you are, or how much time you spend, there will always be something that you cannot reach. Perhaps you are struggling with a problem? Networking is a good way of getting support. Anything is better than struggling alone.

In our webinar, Networking: how to open the doors to opportunity, we consciously reverse some of the conventional advice handed out to new entrepreneurs or professionals. One example of that is the Elevator Pitch, which all too often produces a synthetic, off-putting message.

We examine:

  • Some of the preparation that IS helpful
  • Tips on arrival at an event (social or personal)
  • How to introduce yourself
  • How to escape from situations in which you feel trapped
  • How to develop interesting conversations (and what NOT to do!)
  • How to lay a basis for staying in touch, and follow-up

We live each and every step with self-worth, rather than trying to network our way into self-esteem! In this way, build trust more swiftly and open the doors to opportunity.

Do you want to learn more?

If you would like to know more about what the Self-Worth Academy can do for you contact Isabel Lima at Isabel@SelfWorthAcademy.com or consider Business Coaching.

May we ask you for a favour? Our vision at Self Worth Academy is to bring fresh awareness of unconditional self-worth to the world: to leaders, entrepreneurs and young people. For that we need your help. For example…

– Buying a copy of The Self-Worth Safari and writing a review on Amazon
– Making a short video of how changing from self-esteem to self-worth helps you to do something specific
– Suggesting podcasts or events at which self-worth would be relevant