“No man is an Island,” John Donne famously said. In today’s business climate, no words could be truer. It is much harder for a lone wolf to exist in the business community more than perhaps any other time in history. And in digital age, there is also less of an excuse to go it alone than any other time. We need each other and we need to develop healthy network of other people with whom we can interact. There are multiple reasons for this, but here are just a few of them.
Sometime it’s just good to know that someone is out there going through the same experiences that we are. While we are all unique individuals, everything that happens to us in life has happened to others. It’s good to know we are not alone. It’s good to know what other people have done in similar positions. It’s helpful when we know the resources they used to navigate a situation and think that we might also try the same. Support through networking can be vital if someone is working in an isolated position or in a hostile work environment. With a network, we never have to consider who we should talk to. If we make the effort to network, there is someone out there. And they can give us the support we need.
Knowing the Right People
There is some truth to the old saw that who you know is more important than what you know. Not entirely, of course, but you can know a great deal about something and without the right connections it just stays with you. A network is like a web. It expands as you build it and it becomes more targeted as you do. Someone will introduce you to someone else for a specific reason. Since there is a reason for the introduction, it will be more targeted than haphazard. These introductions are by definition, the “right” people. So you get to meet the right people and make them a part of your business life.
Getting a New Perspective
A healthy network can provide a cornucopia of ideas and perspectives. In our competitive age, we don’t want to be left behind or out of the information loop. The best way for ideas or information to spread is person-to-person. Sure we can get ideas from books, but we can’t read them all. Through a network the best and the worst of information is filtered for us by others. As we listen to someone in a similar business as ours talk about the methods and techniques they use, we can consider whether it would work the same in our business. Even if we don’t adopt the new perspective or buy into the different ideas, it still gives us a chance to pause and reflect on our work.
Perhaps the most mercenary part of networking is that it is one way to market. If people know about us and what we do, they can tell others about us. In turn they may buy our product or use our service. Most people appreciate a good recommendation and networking is a perfect way to let other know about our businesses. Networking is one way to get recommended.