Human connection and communication make the world go ’round, especially in business and the corporate environment. It’s impossible to have a successful business and career without the help and support of your coworkers, clients and community.
Networking is an essential activity but it must be done conscientiously and with skill in order to be effective. Unfortunately, all too often people make the mistake of thinking networking isn’t worth their while or worse, they network with only their own interests in mind. The following 10 statements are some of the most common misconceptions about networking, along with why this thinkin can be so damaging. Do any of these sound familiar?
1. “I don’t like to make contacts.”
Making contacts is the conscious and voluntary activity of establishing and maintaining genuine and long-term relationships with persons who we appreciate and respect. It’s a part of living and interacting within a community and we do it every day.
See also: The 8 faces of business networking
2. “Contacts are useful only to find work.”
It’s a fact that 9 out of 10 jobs are landed, whether directly or indirectly, through contacts. Networking is about making those relationships worthwhile, renewing the bond and mutually redefining our identity, image and reputation with each interaction!
3. “I network only when it’s convenient for me.”
This is tantamount to saying: “I remember you only when I need you.”
Networking solely for your own benefit is self-centered and manipulative. It’s the perfect way to destroy a relationship. People can smell manipulation from a mile away.
See also: The real value of networking
4. “I’m too busy.”
Although nothing beats face-to-face interactions to build relationships of trust and affection, digital alternatives are an effective way to prevent us from vanishing from the face of the earth, a deadly sin in the professional world.
5. “It distracts me from serious work.”
Networking takes time and energy but it is key to employability: it is the “sales force” of our image and reputation. Without contacts, our accomplishments and progress remain unknown and our personal brand ends up being worthless.