- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On July 29, 2013
I believe that networking, when done properly, is a powerful thing. My life has been enriched more than I ever could have imagined because of networking. Sounds like hyperbole, but really it isn’t.
Networking happens for many of us every single day, whether we’re conscious of it or not. I’m also a proponent of intentional networking – joining groups or attending events that interest you, connecting with great new people and building relationships. These events can be directly related to business, but they also don’t have to be. Your hiking buddies are a network. And that mommy group you’re in is probably a great resource for helping you get advice or find a new babysitter.
Because I put myself out there to connect with others, I’ve landed jobs, clients, speaking opportunities and, best of all, amazing friends. Now, I’m connected to people in almost every part of the globe. I always facepalm when I return from a trip and realize I forgot to tell someone I like that I was in their town.
I cringe when people say that they hate networking. And when I do a little digging, I usually find that they either don’t know what to do or had some bad experience in a room where people were only interested in shoving their business cards into everyone’s hands. That isn’t what networking is about.
I had to get a copy of Your Network Is Your Net Worth as soon as it came out. I’ve been networking for years, but I’m also smart enough to know that there is room for LOTS of improvement. This isn’t just a book for beginners or for business owners. It isn’t cheesy or full of stuffy tips and outdated advice. I love that the book includes questions and exercises along the way for self-examination. This isn’t a book that you breeze through and set aside. If you really want to build an amazing network and use this book as a tool to help you do that, I suggest you get your favorite note taking method prepped – your journal, Evernote, OneNote – and get ready to do the work. You won’t be sorry. Early in the book, Porter Gale promises that she will “explain why strengthening and growing your network is the fastest way to improve your real net worth.” And she delivers.
The book gives you a practical roadmap you can use to build and develop your network. She also uses real world examples to illustrate her points.
I was able to connect with Porter Gale about Your Network Is Your Net Worth and ask her some questions about her personal experience with networking. When telling her about people who have come to some of my events and said they hated networking, she responded:
I would probably fit into that bucket of people who found networking uncomfortable…it was after a point when I had more self-confidence, and understanding who I am and what I’m passionate about, that I realized that it could be fun and it was actually bringing me a lot of great career opportunities and great experiences.
In the book, she talks about the before and after – what it was like for her and how her life is now – and how others can change their mindset, identify barriers that are getting in their way, uncover passions and purpose, and then create a networking plan from that. She also stated, “I definitely was not born a networker, but I learned how to do it over time.” I think she’s been pretty successful – check out her impressive bio.
I first learned about Porter Gale, the former VP of Marketing at Virgin America, when I saw her brand building class on creativeLIVE. Ever the internet junkie, I dug around to learn more about her and her upcoming book, Your Network Is Your Net Worth. Truth be told, I was mad that I hadn’t used the title on something major of my own first! 🙂 Through Gale’s site, I found out about an amazing app called Here on Biz (another thing I wish I’d thought of). I reached out to the CEO, we talked about our goals and mission, and now Here on Biz is a partner for my women’s organization, At the Helm: Women in Biz! Networking magic!
As I said, the book is great for just about anyone, but I think it should be required reading for students. Perhaps curricula has changed, but when I was in school, no one ever talked to me about networking. I took a big leap starting my first networking group almost seven years ago. Of all the things I’ve done to grow my businesses and my career, networking as been the most valuable. I suggest you gift a copy to a recent grad in your life who needs to start making connections to find a great job, a mentor or a sense of direction. Or, maybe you need some help with that too…