Let’s face it. Networking is an art – an art that may be an innate gift or a learned skilled. For some individuals, networking can be as natural as walking or reading. For others it can be a challenge just to enter a room full of strangers and manage introductions.
Our connections can vary in degrees of complexity and depth. We may create connections with contacts that have made a great impression and thus, we keep in our personal “file” for future reference. We may create and nurture deeper connections that perhaps result in a business opportunity or a lasting, personal friendship.
Regardless of the complexity and depth, connections are built on a memorable encounter. What is the impression we want to leave with the contact and did we indeed leave that impression? Did we leave an impression of authenticity, trust and the honor of mutual give and take? And if we received a gift, are we willing to reciprocate or pass the gift on?
Consider networking as building your Personal Community. Think about it. We have many “communities” of groups or individuals who support our very being. These communities include the social, physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects of our lives. We have human connections who make us laugh, encourage us to exercise, help us learn, provide support during difficult times and help us gain find the meaning in our life.
So go out a build your Personal Community. Networking is not about gathering names, addresses and managing lists but building a community that you can interact with, help, and be helped – a community to care for and about, communicate with and creating lasting connections.