What’s the point of networking?
Most people network to get something: sales, contacts, referrals, recommendations, etc.
There is a certain type of networker who says their aim is to give but usually with the caveat that “givers gain” or that “what goes around comes around.”
There are two main variations on networking: a formal ritual where the same people meet regularly to sell and pass leads to each other and the more random “give everyone your elevator pitch or business card” style.
There are also various networking forums that purport to offer advice but in fact simply offer the chance for people to sell solutions to those seeking help.
In the past four years of running Drive, the Partnership Network, I’ve been witness to a very different type of networking.
It’s very subtle.
It’s based on sharing knowledge in a forum where no-one tries to sell, no-one tries to get something for nothing, everyone respects each other and takes care of each other.
The way it works is that someone asks a question* and other members share their ideas, thoughts, expertise, empathy, wisdom, and experience, without ever trying to “sell” a solution.
The result is that everyone in the forum gets to benefit from the shared learning and the people who are relentlessly helpful get a reputation for that as well as for their particular brand of expertise.
A side product is trust. A lot of trust. A whole pile of trust. And respect.
No-one coaches members to behave like this. They don’t have some karmic belief in what goes around comes around. They help because they can.
That’s it. Its subtle but very, very powerful.
We don’t measure how much work gets passed between members or keep note of who recommended whom but we know that a lot of them are thriving, building great businesses and living great lives, and that they dearly love their fellow Drive Tribe members!
*We’ve noticed that quite often the act of asking a question leads people to answer their own question and that realising you already know what you need to know is the most powerful learning of all!
If you’d like to know more about how to become a subtle networker, just ask me!