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To some, networking means simply meeting or calling someone new for what might be a one-off discussion or event. In this limited sense, networking is only a trading relationship in which two parties seek to discover whether they have anything of mutual interest to talk about. They either make some sort of exchange or quickly move on. This makes networking a highly 'transactional' subject, much like buying and selling or negotiating with someone.
Our very different view in this book is that networking has a much wider definition. In fact, it can be a major social and life skill, to be used in both a business/organisation and a personal setting.
NETWORK & RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
The 'relationship building' aspect of networking is a long-term commitment to knowing more about yourself and others, and what you may be able to do together that you couldn't do (or couldn't do as well) alone.
We will, therefore, focus on how anyone can systematically adopt effective networking as an individual strategy. We will consider how it can play a key part in linking you with a wider range of people who can help you to achieve more--whatever 'more' means for you.
BENEFITS OF NETWORKING
The benefits of effective networking are many. Some of these are:
It is the most cost effective marketing tool available
BENEFITS OF NETWORKING
As if these reasons were not enough, a healthy and active link to a network is a vast resource available to every individual at a low personal cost. It can help you to achieve a range of goals that otherwise might be too hard or out of reach.
A key point to understand is that networking is achieved at low personal cost not no personal cost. We are not suggesting that networking is a quick fix or fad idea that can be easily adopted to make things better for a while. However, it can provide immediate results for those prepared to invest their time and energy.
In this book, our effective networking and relationship building journey will be taken in four stages or steps. These are:
If you commit the first letters of each of the four stages to memory, it spells the easy-to-remember word LINK. Linking people successfully is what networking is all about.
CONCEPT OF NETWORKING
Many of the definitions of networking shown on the next page may surprise some people, in as much as they suggest that networking is an altruistic activity involving giving and sharing, rather than taking.