How does one network is the wrong question. In fact, its a dumb question that will lead to many hours spent chasing rooms full of hollow people gathered for free coffee and stale donuts (Exhibit A).
How does one find and/or start a gathering of professionals that will generate mutually beneficial relationships? This is the right question or at least a question that will lead to better results that that other stupid question that you started with.
What do you do if you have an Exhibit A mentality but you want to stop asking dumb questions and attending dumb meetings?
Step 1: Define what you are doing (or what it is that you want to do). Answer the key question - what is your business?
Step 2: Find others who are doing what you are doing?
Step 3: Observe others who are doing what you are doing and take note both of A) what is working and B) what is not working from the subjects you are observing that are doing what you are doing.
Step 4: Attempt to gather with those professionals who are doing what you are doing and that fall into category (A) from Step 3. This is value focused networking.
Networking by its Google definition (ˈnetˌwərk) involves interaction + exchange of information + development of contacts especially to further one’s career. It is a verb. In order for a group to create a collection of valuable persons they must collectively define what value will look like, pursue persons in that vein and then deputize the membership to grow those connections. A cattle call will bring the cattle in, but that won’t do if your group is looking for birds of prey.
Might we recommend our trademark the master equation of quality networking,
A + B = C (When and only when):
A = quality of members
B = quantity of member involvement
C = a strong localized networking group
Conversely, C is not achieved when:
A = a bunch of random visionless people assembled in a room
B = irregardless of their activity, in fact their activity may be hurting them. Stop them immediately and refer them to this article.
Remember, we are not seeking Exhibit A individuals or groups (as referenced in our opening statements). Our rally cry is not a cattle call for the masses of grazing business persons who are willing to sit in a stagnant field of mediocrity nibbling on trampled greens.
We are becoming Exhibit B individuals who are building Exhibit B groups that are following the master equation. We are a gathering of professionals who are birds of prey in their personal and professional lives, hunting and devouring business flesh with their wings outstretched in glorious displays of plumage.
A strong value-centric group should be able to answer:
Why are we here meeting with strangers? Define what the group is about.
What will we do to elevate each other? Establish what quality looks like and apply that as a standard to attracting members and structuring the group.
How will we push each other? Generate momentum by living lives of vision that are enhanced by the sharing of insights, experiences and encouragement exchanged between members of the group.
Members working together to define objectives, elevate each other and work towards collective goals is a decent manifestation of humanity as well as the secret sauce (aka master equation) that can fuel a local group of professionals into mutually beneficial relationships.
Thoughts on personal and professional development.
Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is a contractor, author, and host of The DYOJO Podcast. The goal of The DYOJO is to help growth-minded restoration professionals shorten their DANG learning curve for personal and professional development. You can watch The DYOJO Podcast on YouTube on Thursdays or listen on your favorite podcast platform.