The best thing to do when you find yourself in a hurting or vulnerable place is to surround yourself with the strongest, finest, most positive people you know. – Kristin Armstrong
The power of networking comes from a single principle that’s been around from early in human existence – the fact that we’re able to progress faster in groups than we ever can do alone.
No matter how self-sufficient we believe, we are, in the end, no man is an island. We can’t know it all, we can’t think it all, and we most certainly can’t do it all.
Now, this is not to say that self-sufficiency is impossible. But no matter how great the things you achieve on your own, if you surround yourself with right people, it can double or even triple that success.
What’s more, for those who are finding it hard to progress and move on to the next level in life, more often than not, the missing piece lies in the fact that they are unable to surround themselves with the right group of people.
So they toil and labor on their own, getting ever closer but never being quite close enough. To bridge this gap between our effort and our goals, we need the right network.
The Importance of Network
The importance of networking goes beyond having people to talk to so as to alleviate loneliness. It goes beyond just trying to spend time for leisure.
The true importance of network is felt in pretty much every aspect of our daily existence, including business partners, social partners, and even personal growth.
○ Business Partners & Career
This is perhaps where the importance of building the right network of people can be most profound. Simply put, there is no achieving success in business or career without being able to surround yourself with people that are right for you..
In an ideal business structure, everyone has a role to play. Everyone depends on each other to a certain extent. Even those who manufacture require people to buy what they make. Those who buy require a manufacturer. A manufacturer requires workers from different walks of life.
The interdependence in running a business is so deep that no matter how good one is at any singular aspect, success will remain impossible if they don’t find the right people to provide equal balance in other areas.
Having proper business leaders or business partners who you can trust and rely on in today’s volatile world, is important.
○ Personal Growth
Another area where you need to surround yourself by right people is a must is in “personal growth”. Sure, there is no buying and selling involved here, but the influence of the right network can still be profoundly felt.
Not only do the right people like our family members help us in our personal lives by providing valuable advice and assistance when called upon, but they also act as a support system to help bring us back to our feet whenever we fall apart.
The right family members and friends encourage us, inspire us, motivate us, spend time with us and ensure that we never stop moving forward. As though all of this isn’t enough, the right group of people around us can also provide the best atmosphere for success.
Toxic people create a tense, hostile atmosphere with their negative thoughts. Positive people, however, rub on us with their abundance mindset and never allow us to stop believing that we can do it.
○ Long-lasting Bonds & Relationships
Lastly, building the right network can also bring about stability in our lives. Many of us crave stability, but we don’t often get it.
We don’t often get it because we are surrounded by the wrong people. We are surrounded by drifters who only aim to come into our lives for what they can gain from us.
So when they’re done receiving what they came for, they go away and leave us worse than before. The right people, however, contribute as much or even more than they take away.
As such, they are here to stay.
So instead of going in and out of negative relationships, we build a stable, long-lasting bond and reap all of the wonderful benefits that come from doing so.
Surround Yourself with Right People: What you doing wrong?
So now that we understand the importance and the WHY of building the right network, another essential question is HOW successful people do it.
Ironically, to understand how to build the right network, we must first understand how NOT to do so.
○ Trying too Hard
One of the first things we should always ensure never to do when building the right network is trying too hard.
By trying too hard, we mean going out of our way to impress people just because of what we have to gain from them.
This trait can be seen in sycophants who always ensure to “suck up” to those above them just to get opportunities. They always look down on those they feel cannot help and would do anything just to get ahead.
There is a difference between showing zeal and passion and being someone who only lives to be overly servile with no self-respect.
To build the proper connection, we must maintain a balance between our zeal and self-respect. We do this by generating a solid appeal to those around us without being overly servile.
○ Prioritizing Short Term Gain over Long Term Bonds
Another essential trait to ensure we do not fall victim to, in our attempts to build strong relationships is lack of vision. People who lack vision in network building tend to prioritize short-term gain over long-term bonds.
This is a mistake.
An example of prioritizing short-term gains is approaching a customer to buy a product, making friends with them, and then severing the connection once the transaction fails to go through.
Someone with a long-term vision would instead maintain the relationship, knowing that there is still a great chance for future endeavors with the same person even if there is no short-term gain.
By prioritizing long-term bonds over short-term, we forge relationships that focus on quality and sustainability over quantity.
○ Focusing on Actions and Not Exchanging Ideas
Lastly, a common mistake you can make when you try to surround yourself with the right people is focusing on actions instead of ideas.
What do we mean by this? Well, those who focus on actions focus on what people can DO for them. So if they find someone who can’t do anything for them, they consider them as negative relationships, discard it, and move on to the next.
This is a mistake.
Sure, some people can’t do anything for us, but still, they possess a vast array of knowledge and wisdom and can instill virtues and ideas in us instead.
What’s more, the idea we gain from them can then go even further than any short-term action could have.
So instead of focusing on actions alone, we should also always place significant emphasis on exchanging ideas when it comes to network building in business or social circles.
Finding the Right Network
Finally, after identifying the things we’re doing wrong in surrounding ourselves with the right people, the next step is to focus on what we should do right.
Below are some essential things successful people do to achieve this goal.
○ Work on Your Networking Skills
First of all, there is no surrounding ourselves with the right people if we don’t have the skills to do so. By networking skills, we mean social skills that ensure people gravitate towards us Instead of receding from us.
Among key examples of these are:
Eloquence is an incredibly important tool in network building. The reason for this is simple. To get anyone to do anything, usually, we must first talk to them.
While talking comes easy for some, many people find it hard. For a good reason too. To be regarded as eloquent, we must not only be able to convey what’s on our minds. We must also find the right words and context with which we can do so perfectly.
Learning this crucial art gets us a step closer to building the perfect network. This ain’t a art that can be learnt in fraction of a second, but more of a art that needs to be built. Check out the book “Talk to Me” by Kim Bearden, which should be a good foundation to start at.
By elegance, we do not mean having a fake, fancy way of life. No, we mean the opposite. To build true elegance, we must be able to stay true to ourselves.
This involves not going out of our way to fake our lifestyle or our means of living. The goal is to appear attractive and well put together without being fake and flamboyant.
> Wit and Sharpness
A sharp person understands how to recognize opportunities to build strong connections. Not only this, they can act on this opportunity very fast.
They do this by adding their charm, eloquence, and elegance with a sharp wit that even the coldest of hearts can not resist.
Building wit and sharpness takes practice and repetition. We may fail at first, but once we do it enough and become more comfortable, we begin to see incredible improvements in this area.
○ Build Self-Confidence
Next up is building self-confidence. This is important because it is possible to build all the networking skills in the world and not put them to use due to a lack of self-confidence.
Some people are elegant and eloquent but can’t speak to other people thanks to a lack of self-confidence.
Building self-confidence is not an easy task, but it is a possible one. Many great people in history have been known to go from shy and weak to confident and strong in no time.
You can, too.
Feel free to check out our guide on building self-confidence to learn everything you can about building up your self-esteem in no time at all.
○ Have Something to Offer
Another important key to surrounding ourselves with the right people is being able to offer something in return. Think about it this way, to build the right network, we must surround ourselves with people who can contribute something to a greater goal.
But what is the incentive for those people to associate with us if we can’t do the same?
For this reason, it becomes infinitely easier to build the right network once people know that we also have something rare and essential to offer.
Another way to look at it is this. We keep saying to surround ourselves with the right people. But are we the right person to be surrounded by?
The only way to be the right person ourselves is to have things to offer. This doesn’t even have to be monetary. We could offer advice, a skill, a positive mindset, among others.
Once we have this, we are much closer to building the right network that will last a long time.
○ Leverage the 21st Century
The 21st Century offers so many unique networking opportunities that it is almost impossible to wonder how people survived back in the day.
Among some of the unique opportunities, we have now that can be leveraged include social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc.
All of them have the unique advantage of not requiring physical meetings before building connections. This can be particularly important for those who are shy of physical connections.
If used properly, the power of 21st-century social networking can go a long way in changing our lives for the better and surrounding us with incredible people.
○ Don’t Discard the Old Ways
Despite all the innovations of modern time, it is still advisable to make use of the old ways of networking to build a good connection.
Below are some of the ways to do this.
> Make Use of People to Meet People
The way of the world is meeting people through other people. – Robert Kerrigan
People are the best gateways to meeting people. Most of the time, people act as bridges. They may not be the final article we’re looking for. But everyone can act as your bridge to finally connecting with that smartest person who has what we seek.
> Conferences and Seminars
Ambitious people attend seminars and attend various traditional forms of gatherings. This is the surest way to interact with people in real life who happen to have expertise in our area of interest.
Of course, once there, we will then have to put in our charm and other skills to work, but without this opportunity, all of these skills would go to waste and never be put to use.
> Economy of Time
Using the traditional form of physical networking, it is important to understand that people don’t give away their physical time as freely as they do when they’re surfing the internet.
In real-life interactions, highly successful people prefer time over money and we must always be brief and straight to the point. This is why it is usually advisable to rehearse key points beforehand so that when the time comes for the actual meeting, we can say what we have to without constantly straying from the point.
○ Be Willing to Listen
Lastly, to build a solid network of people, we must be willing to listen and absorb as much as we get. Some people have a problem with speaking, but some have a problem with listening.
They always want to talk and show people that they, too, are bright and have something to offer. This is not the right way to go about it.
Tendency to always talk and not listen is a symptom of a fixed mindset. Those with abundance mindsets are willing to let their intelligence show in their ability to listen and absorb from others.
This is also capable of endearing us to people and making them like us. Once they see that we value what they have to say, they build an affinity for us, and as time goes on, they begin to consider us as good friends.
This is an example of a job well done and a perfect method of building a network of great individuals the right way.
Everywhere we turn, there is always someone complaining about putting in a lot of work without getting results. In the same vein, we see so many people who seem to be hardly working but achieving incredible success.
More often than not, the difference comes down to the strategy employed by both groups of people. To become part of the latter group, we must work smartly by surrounding ourselves with the right people and building the proper connection.
This not only helps us get closer to success in our careers and businesses, but it also gives way for personal growth and long-lasting bonds. To do this, though, we must be willing to go through the necessary steps.
Thankfully, these steps are as straightforward as they come. Building eloquence, wit, and self-confidence are right up there as some of the most important things to do.
Then we can go on to leverage the opportunities provided by traditional methods such as using people to meet people, attending conferences, and even leveraging 21st-century advantages like social media.
With a proper network, the opportunity to make our lives better has never been easier. We only have to take them before it’s too late.