Networking in its most basic form is communication, making connections and developing one’s circle of influence. It is a life skill that results in mutually beneficial long-term relationships between parties and has many benefits professionally and also personally. However, many people fail at developing this vital skill not due to lack of proper skill but due to the wrong attitude or mind-set towards networking.
There are a lot of misconceptions around about networking that prevents people from reaping the full benefits of this aspect of life. Herein is a brief but comprehensive overview of some of the major misconceptions about networking.
1. NETWORKING SKILL IS SET IN STONE
Many people subscribe to the notion that certain people are naturally good at something while others are not and thus cannot be changed. This misconception applies to networking and many other aspects of life.
The belief that outgoing people are destined to be good at building networks is not only wrong but harms the chances of introverted people developing this skill. Networking, like many other skills, can be developed and improved by anyone through motivation, hard work, and commitment.
2. THE CLOSEST TIES HOLD THE MOST VALUE
A natural mistake that people make when networking is focusing on close circles and not investing in the outer circles in their network. This affects the ability to build functional networks.
While strong ties are important in many ways, failing to pay attention parties bearing weak ties can result in opportunity losses. It is through such ties that people come across new ideas and perspectives they are not accustomed to.
3. IT IS A TIME-WASTING EFFORT
One of the main problems many people when they attempt to build a network is the lack of immediate results. This often makes them question its value and wonder whether they are wasting their time.
However, experience in networking will reveal that it is largely a long-term process and meaningful results will not be evident immediately for the majority people. A good network can take years to build and to improve the chances of seeing results; they should be built with specific goals in sight.
4. RELATIONSHIPS HAVE TO DEVELOP NATURALLY
A lot of people are often against strategically working on relationships. It is a common misbelief that relationships have to form impetuously amid people who innately like each other. The problem with this attitude is that it results in homogenous thinking between groups of people. Deliberate networking helps in seeing things from a diverse perspective.
4. NETWORKING IS A SELFISH ENDEAVOUR
This is one of the more ethic based misconceptions about networking. At times it may feel like networking is solely based on gaining connections that are beneficial to oneself, particularly for the inexperienced and starters. However, networking has proved time and again that it has collective and individual benefits to offer to all parties in a network.
For people to meaningfully develop their networks and enjoy the benefits it has to offer, they have to change their mind-set about this important skill in today’s world.