Where are your Networks?

I was recently speaking with a colleague about networking and maintaining relationships. We whole-heartedly agree that chemistry plays a huge role in successful networking. But perhaps more importantly, our conversation also uncovered that networking happens everywhere and not just at work related cocktail parties. One definition of ‘network’ that I recently uncovered reads: ‘a group of friends that form a system.’ This is interesting to me.  Many people think of a network as purely business, but this definition uses the term ‘friend’. I agree with this entirely. Networking may appear only to be business related, but to be successful, the relationships need to be deeper than that.  Networks need to be made up of individuals with whom you care about and those you want to build deeper relationships with. Here is an exercise for you to use when uncovering your networks:

  • Write down the names of  your internal and external networks.  You may be surprised to see how many people you have in your circles.  Consider where you may find these individuals, such as:
    • inside your law firm or business
    • other professionals in your industry
    • professionals who interact with your industry
    • existing clients
    • former clients
    • prospective clients
    • family, friends and neighbors
  • Determine the influential individuals in your networks as well as those with whom you have a natural chemistry.
  • See where the individuals in your network overlap.
  • Identify how you may deepen your relationship with others by introducing them to each other.

Networking isn’t just about knowing people. It is entirely about building trusting, long-term relationships.  To do that, bring value to your relationships so that you may deepen your connections and create a path for yourself to be the ‘one who knows’ others.