More and more business networks are popping up but there is a quiet revolution going on in the way they are working.
I just saw someone tweeting from an event, saying they’d connected with the speaker on LinkedIn and were carrying on the discussion. At the same event, delegates were using a hashtag (this symbol # that creates a clickable link on Twitter) to tweet about the event, connect with each other and share pictures and slides from the presentations with people who couldn’t be there.
This is networking.
These people all have a common interest, established immediately. No-one did an elevator pitch and no-one swapped business cards or asked for referrals. No breakfast was harmed. The connections will be strengthened or fade according to the individual’s preferences, needs and interests.
The organisers of the event did nothing to facilitate this, except, when pushed, suggest the hashtag. They could have made much more of it, and possibly increased attendance, by inviting people to use it when they registered to connect with other delegates before the event and create a buzz about what was happening – but that’s another story.
The real story here is that business networking has moved on.
Savvy folk are using new ways to connect with interesting people and build relationships using social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to network effortlessly.
The trick is to see it as social NETWORKING and not social media or marketing.
That means using your own name and picture in your profiles and not your business name and logo. [pullquote]With on-line profiles no-one needs an elevator pitch.[/pullquote]
We’ve always been told that networking isn’t about selling and yet encouraged to introduce ourselves at traditional organisations with an elevator pitch. With on-line profiles no-one needs an elevator pitch. Everyone can see what you do, so they get straight to the much more important bit of establishing who you are and what values you share.
Networking is a human activity that was hijacked by business organisations. Now it’s back in the hands of the individual and freely available to everyone.
Are you moving on with your networking? Take a look at Drive the Network for a great way to bring networking into the 21st Century!