What is Networking?

handshake.png#asset:5346Networking has become an inescapable buzzword in professional circles. Like many other buzzwords, networking has lost its meaning somewhat as it has become more ingrained in our cultural consciousness. What is networking? Why is networking important? And how can you network most effectively?

What is networking?

To answer this question, it might be more helpful to define what networking is NOT. Networking is not just an information exchange, or a one-sided connection to benefit only one person. Real networking involves building relationships with others in your community, collaborating to help each other and working to create a business environment that helps the community itself.

Why is networking important?

Networking has many benefits including:

  • Help with job searches or finding qualified candidates for open positions.
  • Connections with other professionals in your industry that are ready to support you and your business.
  • Potential mentors to guide you on your journey to greater success.
  • Access to community leaders that can propel your business to the next level.
  • A variety of experiences and perspectives that can help you look at your company’s offerings with fresh eyes.

How can I network most effectively?

Remembering that networking is a relationship, and not a one-way street, is the most important aspect of networking effectively. If you want to get the most out of networking, you must be prepared to engage as much time and effort in others as you hope they’ll invest in you and your business.

It’s also vital to network with people both inside and outside of your industry. Only building relationships in a limited circle can lead to an echo chamber that stifles creativity. While connecting with others in your industry is great for discussing specific issues, the perspective of respected professionals in other industries is invaluable.

If you have found yourself asking “What is networking?” and wondering how you can start networking effectively, the Nashville area Chamber of Commerce provides the best networking opportunities in our region. Find out more about the benefits of membership, including exclusive networking opportunities, here.

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