Published: February 7th, 2018; By: Judi Hughes

“I’ve come to believe that connecting is one of the most important business – and life – skill sets you’ll ever learn.  Why? Because, flat out, people do business with people they know and like.” ~ Keith Ferrazzi from his fabulous book ‘Never Eat Alone’. 

I believe this to be true. I know networking is a key strategy for business development and company growth. I preach to our clients “build your business by building relationships.”

And yet, in spite of this, recently I’ve let my “networking muscle” get out of shape.  There are a multitude of reasons and excuses but truth be told, just like when you stop working out, the longer you stay away the harder it is to get back to it.  Ever happen to you?

Networking looks so natural when you watch other people in casual conversation, exchanging business cards and making arrangements to meet later. It seems really clever when you read “the regulars” actively participate with useful and funny comments in social media groups. It all looks so easy!

However, it isn’t easy … that’s why it’s called net “working” … done properly its hard work and it requires practice.

On top of everything else, networking can leave you feeling totally vulnerable.  Keith Ferrazzi also says “I believe that every conversation you have is an invitation to risk revealing the real you.” Not sure about you but this might not be something all of us want to do.

I also know; just like working out, once I get back to it and make it a regular part of my life, I will feel so much better and wonder why I ever stopped.

I know I will be building relationships and learning with like-minded people.  I will be sharing ideas and connections.  I will be motivated by conversations and inspired by opportunities.

Celebrations of International Networking Week have motivated me to get back out there and make it happen. It’s time to get my networking muscle back in shape. It’s time to meet some new people and re-connect with others.

Building a network is about finding ways to make other people more successful. On that note, I’m looking forward to crossing paths with you in the months ahead.  Perhaps I know someone who can help you be even more successful.

If you want to hone up on your networking skills here are some practical resources to help make that happen.  Enjoy!