Being a 32 year old entrepreneur who toured more than 15% of the world, visited more than 31 countries and cultures, and was invited to be a motivational speaker in many local and international universities; this had helped me build a dynamic network of connections in more than 100 countries worldwide. Accordingly, I would love to share with you a few tips to take on the art of effective networking in 2020 and the future.
In 2019, I was invited to be a keynote Speaker in TEDx Muscat Live - Oman at Sultan Qaboos University to talk about the art of effective networking in 2020 in an “innercise” theme, which is a group of mental and emotional exercises. In simple words, It's retraining your brain in certain ways to improve things like your mindset, your confidence, your clarity and focus, and to upgrade the beliefs and habits in your brain which is really nothing more than neural patterns.
Many of us thought that they know what networking is, and many thought it was merely talking with everyone? Or just socializing with anyone? Some might argue that if you have a lot of phone numbers in your cell phone or attend various networking events, then you’re doing pretty well. But for me, the reality behind networking is much more than just that.
In this article, I will open your eyes to a wider view of networking, and I will share with you some tips on how to be an effective networker.
What is Networking?
Let me start first with answering a very basic question; what is networking? According to dictionary.com, networking is:
A (supportive system) of sharing information and (services) among individuals and groups having a (common interest).
So, networking is creating our supportive system /services / and common interest. It’s not talking to everyone or anyone and simply socializing. However, it is a mutual benefit between similar people that support each other to reach their goals.
Now, let’s look at it again from my perspective...
Networking is Net + Working: so, it’s building our supportive system again and connecting it through hard-working.
Give yourself a minute or two and think about the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about nets and hard work.
Oh yes, you are right! It is the spider.
What is interesting for me about spiders is that they build their own nets to hunt its opportunities daily! And what is shocking is that every night it rebuilds it again to be ready for hunting the next day. Which is very interesting and amazing! So, why am I talking about spiders here?
Well, I believe that we all have spiders within us. We, as humans, unconsciously build on daily bases 3 types of nets:
1- The brain and cognitive net
The brain net is a thing we can build and Renew every day through “self-learning”.
Each one of us is on a continuous learning journey. And as much as you learn and get yourself exposed to new cultures and knowledge as much as your net will get stronger. Be like the spiders, do not wait for others to teach you how you search for knowledge and employ it to generate new skills. Believe in yourself and work hard and you will do well.
2- The reality net
The reality net is the people surrounding us.
I believe we build and renew our circles and surroundings in a daily manner. However, there is an important question you need to ask yourself first:
Why do people want to connect with you?
People would like to connect with people who are more experienced to learn from them and who might help them to gain some new skills and experiences. First, surround yourself with people who can give you continuous feedback and mentoring. That will allow you to improve yourself and validate your gained skills. Second, mentor other people and help them to improve themselves.
3- The virtual net
The virtual net is “The internet and social media net”.
The internet realm and the current digital world that we live in has both pros and cons for our generation. As it is the place for generating money, exchanging social views, and impacting the lives of many people all over the world.
Now, you can connect and network with anyone in the world with one click. And as they say:
Thinking in many brains is better than thinking with one only.
Therefore, I use social media and technology to master networking by sending my mentors and friends ideas and drafts about projects or speeches I am working on. Then, we start to delete, add, and edit until we reach the final version.
Besides, the ability to prove who you are is a fundamental and universal human right. Because we live in a digital era, we need a trusted and reliable way to do that in the online world. We need to build what is called “a virtual /digital identity”. You can now use the internet and social media to do so.
In the end, there is no special equation or secret for effective networking. Just start working using the SPIDER methodology:
- S: Self learning and self-awareness to build your first net.
- P: Practicing is the key; patience is needed to build a strong one.
- I: Interact with diversity type of people to learn more and build the second net.
- D: Be different, how you are different to relate to.
- E: Extend your network using the internet and social media to build your third net.
- R: Refine your nets on daily bases as spiders do.
And now, are you ready to bring out your inner spider and connect your 3 nets?
If you’re interested in knowing more about career networking, check the following article for tips to build a professional network.