Networking: what is networking?

What is networking? Building business with networking: 10 main rules. Chalk it up!


Several years ago I came across a trendy word “networking”.

Of course, I asked myself a question, “What is networking?” and it turned out to be just another word for “useful acquaintances”.

Having found the answer, I even forgot to think about this notion, but recently it has been so widely used (and sometimes quite out of place) that I decided to devote a whole article to this term.

So, what is networking?

A dictionary says that this word consists of two stems: “net” and “work”.

Thus, it means mutually beneficial relations in regard to work, business, love, everyday duties etc.

For instance, you didn’t think of registering your child for the kindergarten right after his birth. You simply didn’t know you would be so short of preschools when your child grew up! Anyway, when your little boy or girl was 2.5 years old, you went to the nearest kindergarten and heard its director laugh, “Mommy, don’t you know in which country you live?” After these words you left empty-handed.

But if you decide not to give an inch, here are three things you can do:

  1. Try to call to justice by writing complaints to top management, sending requests to local media and so on.
    Let me warn you that this method will eat tons of your nerves and can give all but no result.
  2. Persuasively bribe the director.
    If your piggy-bank is half empty, I don’t think it will be a good idea.
  3. Find common acquaintances that can influence the director.

The last option is the least exhausting and money-consuming, but you might end up having no common acquaintances.

In this case it’s high time you remembered about the theory of six handshakes – one of the basics of networking.

Two talented American scholars Milgram and Travers were the first to introduce this idea in 1960.

They stated that all people in the world know each other either directly or through other people. And this chain, connecting us with anyone on Earth, consists of six acquaintances (handshakes).

I recommend: What is teambuilding?

How long have you known and used networking?

«Networking is an essential part of building wealth.»
Armstrong Williams

In tsarist Russia you could get a cushy job with a recommendation from a famous nobleman or those close to him.

In the Soviet time contacts also played a very important role especially if people needed to “get” some rare goods.

Let me share with you one of our family stories.

In the time of total lack of goods my grandma somehow managed to get trendy, as for those times, stocking boots for my mom.

She could do it because she knew the right shop-assistant!

Today we solve lots of issues due to our useful contacts rather than money.

Quality medical treatment and education, a wide range of jobs can be at your disposal if you have someone influential by your side.

This is networking in action!

Several years ago a Russian research centre conducted a poll among the citizens of the country.

They were asked to which extent useful acquaintances influenced their life.

It turned out that a quarter of the participants couldn’t see promotion without contacts; a half asserted that contacts certainly made life easier, and only another quarter was sure they could make it on their own.

As you see networking really rules.

10 rules of networking

As well as other trends and phenomena, networking has a number of rules and conditions.

And if you follow them, you’ll find the formula of success!

  1. Don’t be afraid to initiate contacts.
    You might miss people necessary for your career, relations, and everyday life, if you sit and wait until they make the first step.

  2. Don’t be too importunate.

    A public servant you met at the exhibition isn’t obliged to solve your housing problems the very next day.

    Before asking people for a favour, secure your relations with trust.

  3. Solving a problem, use any contacts – from the very close to the very far ones.

    You never know which connection will work.

  4. Use any means for setting contacts, be those modern social networks and dating sites or time-proved parties, conferences, and cultural events.
  5. Always be ready for a new meeting.

    Speaking of business partnerships – be sure to have your business cards with you; mentioning your personal relations – take care of your look. 

    What if you meet your future spouse at the local grocery? How promising is your future if you hit the store with a nest on your head, a hole in your jeans, and a weird makeup on your face?

  6. Be sure not only to take, but also to give.

    The more you help others when they turn to you, the higher your chances to receive it in your turn. You must have heard of a boomerang principle, haven’t you?

  7. When inspecting your papers, don’t throw away all those phone numbers or business cards you thought you wouldn’t need anymore.

    The more contacts you have, the higher your chances to solve any problem.

  8. Keep the necessary contact info in order.

    “I wrote her number on a scrap of newspaper, then I lost it somewhere and when I found it, I couldn’t remember whose number it was. So, it flew to the dustbin”.

    Please, don’t have this happen in your life.

    Keep your business cards in a special file or a box, have your contacts saved in either your electronic or paper organizer.

  9. Expand your network.
    Introduce your friends to your friends.
    If they find each other useful, it will raise your credibility.

  10. Communicate positively.

    If you are secretly introduced as a bitch or a troublemaker, you are unlikely to count on any help in the future.

Now you can answer the question “What is networking?” and benefit from this useful way of cooperation when looking for a job, changing your marital status, improving your living conditions, and, generally speaking, when making your life more interesting!

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