Networking like a pro – how leaders create and use networks
The art of adding more productivity to your business starts with the right way of networking.
In a world where ‘givers’ are considered the most successful people, a new realisation is coming into place that people who help others collaborate to create greater value are more successful than those who are just giving what they have.
What leaders focus on
The most successful leaders are the ones who connect people to opportunities and thereby build their own network. Connecting people to each other and to opportunities to create more value is truly a great way of building a network. By doing this, leaders put themselves at the centre of the network and create the greatest value for themselves in the process. Leaders are always looking and listening for opportunities for themselves and others. These opportunities can then be gifted and used as a connecting point for two or more parties or individuals.
Importance of networking
Let’s try and understand the difference that networking creates for a business. Connecting various people is one thing and can be of little significance, but as soon as you add an opportunity that actually creates more value between parties, your influence in that network increases dramatically. This increased influence can be converted into more opportunities for yourself in the future. As they say, “Your network is your worth.” That’s exactly the reason why leaders are always looking to connect people with opportunities.
However, this doesn’t mean that they assume the role of power brokers or business brokers. It simply means they are looking at adding real value to the lives of everyone that they come across. It is not about introducing two individuals without any purpose, shaking hands, exchanging cards, and then forgetting about them. It is about genuinely developing an attitude of “how can I help” or “how can I add value.”
The after-effects of networking
The leaders, in effect, create a network of value creators, collaborators, and givers. This network then creates a ripple effect, and as a consequence of building this value network, they start attracting more and more opportunities not just for themselves but for everyone in that network. This value network, beyond a point, starts expanding its attraction or magnetic field in a fast and strong way. All big and successful networks like the Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO) and Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO) are a good example of this theory. They bring together great leaders from various industries, create so much value for each other, and connect their fellow members to so many great opportunities. As a result, now everyone likes to be part of the same.
The structure of networking
Following the above-mentioned example, the next obvious question arises, “Do you need to have a formal structure of networking?” or “Do you need to be part of a structured network like YPO or EO?” The simple answer is “yes” – and “no”. Yes, because structured networking platforms help you find more and more opportunities that can be used to connect people to. It becomes easier to connect people with opportunities in a structured network if you are part of it. However, as the network grows, it leaves less influence on the leader. This is because everyone understands that the structure is more powerful than the individual who built it and it’s actually the structure which is working.
As a consequence, the credit goes to the structure, and the leader, like everyone else, just ends up becoming an instrument in it.
If you wish to become a leader who builds networks and likes to use them for themselves and others or to build a position for yourself as network leader or great networker, then you need to be conscious about the time it takes to do so. The time that you would use to build this network will be time and focus away from your business, as this is something which will start working for you in the future.
Deepti Atul Goswami is Executive Director of Dealsflow Ventures.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)