Being constantly networked and engaging the environment is probably the only way out. Social media and the internet have made it easier to network, has redefined the concept of accessibility and boundaries. But just as with any other tool in its early days, the excitement of the tool has overtaken the intended purpose.
No doubt business networking or professional networking is an integral aspect of a working life. However in the process of creating an ecosystem and getting connected into one, most of us has moved from quality of connections to quantity of contacts. With social media marketing techniques and online networking forums we all have moved to believe and rely in the strength of numbers. Forgetting that in networking – irrespective of the medium (offline or online) quantity can never overtake quality of connections.
Having thousands of friends on Facebook, or LinkedIn is not going to enable you to get a business or a job if you can’t call and be instantly recognized by even a handful of them. To make sure this happens, we need to ensure that we build quality connections. You need to have a well knit and a strong relationship mechanism to sustain and grow your network. Everyone in your network who you have rightly added, is an asset. This asset has to be valued and nurtured. And for this you need to have a method. If you can have only a handful of high quality connections, you can reach as many people as you want through them.
While the approaches, tools and methods will keep changing, the essential purpose of networking which is to build a strong and healthy bunch of connections will not change. So the next time you decide you or your enterprise needs to engage in networking, think twice before you accumulate business cards or increase your friend list on Facebook. Remember, it is not in the numbers.