Stop networking and START building your network.”

If you’re preparing to run a marathon in 3 months, you know there’s a difference between going to the gym versus training at the gym. The same principle applies to networking. Attending networking events and building a network are two very different things. Just as it’s important to train and prepare for race day, it’s important to build a network so it’s there when you need it.

Going through the networking motions won’t grow your business but flexing the right muscles and actually building a network will pay off both for your business and the business of those in your network.

Here are 13 subtle differences between building a network and going through the networking motions:

  1. Building a network means you’re intentional and deliberate about your purpose for networking, not going in blindly, without a purpose or goal.
  2. Building a network means you’re attending events with professionals who believe in collaboration, not just good coffee (though good coffee is critical).
  3. Building a network means you’re asking for introductions to power or referral partners, not just your ideal client.
  4. Building a network means you’re scheduling meetings and discovery sessions when there may be synergy between your businesses or for your connections, not just being a drive-by networker, collecting and handing out as many business cards as possible.
  5. Building a network means you’re nurturing connections and deepening relationships outside the event, not just when your paths happen to cross.
  6. Building a network means you’re delivering on promises you make, not just being nice with empty promises.
  7. Building a network means you’re looking for ways to add value and help your connections, not just looking out for your own benefit.
  8. Building a network means you’re meeting 2-4 new and quality connections, not just trying to meet as many people as possible.
  9. Building a network means you’re taking a genuine interest in the people you meet, not just having shallow conversations.
  10. Building a network means you’re asking questions and adding resources to your toolbox, not just in one ear and out the other.
  11. Building a network means you’re generous with your rolodex and facilitating introductions to potential clients, referral partners and resources, not keeping all the good stuff for yourself.
  12. Building a network means you’re being honest and up front about why you want to meet, not being evasive to get people to your “business opportunity” or other sales meeting.
  13. Building a network means making the long-term investment to meet and make the connections that are a good fit for your business (as a partner or client), not chasing after every living, breathing being.

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What would you add to this list?

Many may not notice the subtle difference between networking and building a network. Building a network isn’t hard if you’re engaged in the right activities. We know networking itself won’t build your network or grow your business but having a solid network and engaging in the right activities will not only help your business grow but your connections will grow their business as well.

 

Sabrina Risley

Sabrina Risley is a master connector. She’s been hosting live networking events since 2004 and has welcomed 20,000+ professionals to those events. She shares her observations, insights and tips of how the top 2% of effective and magnetic networkers build their businesses. She also shares what NOT to do when networking. Get her complimentary e-book: Strategic Networking for Success.
Sabrina Risley