In some places in the world, fishing nets are made by hand, often by groups of people working together on one net.
Working the net takes time, care, and sustained commitment because the idea isn’t to use it once or twice, but to create something flexible and sturdy that will last a long time.
So let's talk about "networking." Most people tend to think of social and business networking as a means to an immediate end – superficial and short-term. We default to opportunism over connection.
Instead of what's in it for me, a productive, authentic and successful networking mindset is about “how can I help?” When meaning drives you, other people feel it. They begin to know you and together you add more breadth to your mutual nets.
This isn’t a one-time deal. We need to do this throughout our whole adult lives, not just when we need a job or a business lead or are making a career transition. A network is the extent to which we weave personal and professional connections through branching out and reaching back. (Introverts, don’t panic, there are ways to have this fit your style.)
It’s never too late to reconnect with people from your past and to begin reaching out for new connection. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated networking online. In-person events and groups have migrated to virtual platforms. New groups are springing up, it seems, by the minute.
Strategies for online networking are not that much different than in-person, if forming an authentic relationship is your aim. On video conference platforms like Zoom, connection calls for reaching out in the chat to a specific person, or following up on a great conversation you had in a breakout room, or setting up one-on-one Zoom or phone chats to go deeper. You can connect others to people in your network through online platforms like LinkedIn. Even better, facilitate the meeting between two of your connections by planning a virtual lunch/drink/coffee for the three of you.
No matter what your next step, sincerity is key.
I've met some amazing people in online networking groups and through their generosity I’ve added other interesting people, and I've been able to help them grow their networks and their businesses, too. These contacts have led to fascinating discussions, friendships, job possibilities and clients.
You can weave a net that grows and strengthens over time. More weave than work. Start now.
Judy Garfinkel helps you clarify what next. She writes top-notch resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and bios that open the doors for her clients to successfully land jobs they want. Her expertise in building confidence and resilience supports your growth and ability to navigate career and work transitions, especially now! Judy is also the current President of ICF-CT (where she leads a membership of 200+ coaches).