What is our reason for being here? It’s a big question. A huge question, in fact, that has piqued the minds of humanity for centuries. I went through an exercise the other day that had me think about why I thought we were all here. After a moment’s pause, my mind led me to an answer that I feel pretty good about. Our purpose here is to serve one another and create community. Serving and community can come in many shapes and forms, but to me it just made sense.
With that idea in mind, I want to ask you what is the purpose of networking? To serve each other and create community, right? So how are we creating community in our network?
Our network should continually be nurtured. It isn’t something that we should be reaching out to only when we need it; we should be giving back to it with the sincerity that we hope others would give to us. Networking isn’t just going to events, chit chatting, and promoting our services. It is building bonds. It is building a community not just with the people in our direct network, but with those beyond it. There are many ways to build and support our communities.
How can you create community in your network?
Match People Up
Have you ever been in conversation with someone and when you tell them about a current idea or challenge, they offer up the name of someone who can help you? Then that introduction turns out to be a great connection and the new person really has been able to help you? It makes you feel pretty grateful for your network, doesn’t it? Extend the courtesy of your network. Match people up. When you see a potential beneficial connection or synergy between others, take the opportunity to introduce them. You’re creating a win-win situation.
No matter what your interest or industry is, there are always going to be other people who are interested in the same things as you. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, bringing people together under a common topic creates a greater sense of community. New people come out of the woodwork, while seasoned people can offer up their expertise. An event doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as big or as small as you want. All that matters is that you bring people together. Utilize your network, social media, and event sites like www.eventbrite.com to promote your event and draw people from outside your immediate network.
Nurture Warmth and Acceptance
People are people. We’re all made of the same stuff. Show your network the warmth of your personality and accept everyone for who they are. We can’t change who anyone else is, we can only adjust the way that we respond to other. When viewed in a positive light, our networks will likely respond to us with more engagement and trust. After all, community is built with acceptance, isn’t it?
Achieve Greater Awareness
Creating community in your networking means being aware and paying attention to what is happening around you. You aren’t required to take action every single day – or week for that matter – but rather, simply being aware of the people around you, looking for opportunities, identifying gaps, and creating solutions by bringing people together. Introducing two people literally takes you 5 minutes. Planning an event takes more time and effort. If you aren’t the event planner, look for events happening in your network and put in the time to attend them. You never know who you’ll meet and the bonds that will created. Help to create a community that you want to be a part of.