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Why you should follow these 6 rules of networking

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This article is based on the eBook “Authentic Networking”.

When you’re networking, you’re showing two things. You’re showing the In, your personality and professional qualities. You’re convincing people that you’re a worthwhile person to talk to, work with, connect to. You’re doing this using the Out, your communication skills. You’re using techniques that are as old as humanity to optimise how you come across. Smiling, being interested, active listening…

In this article we will take a closer look at some practical tips and laws of networking. 


Practice makes perfect

As with anything, if you’re going to change how you network you’ll have to do something about it. You’ll actively tackle and improve certain aspects of your personality and style. Some of those things might feel uncomfortable or weird when you start doing them.

The question that often arises here is: ”But won’t I come across as fake?”, or “That just isn’t me.” I would like to make an important distinction here. On the one hand, there’s practicing something you believe in until it becomes natural. Like learning to drive a car. On the other hand, there’s doing something you don’t really believe in because you think you have to. Like laughing at people’s jokes or trying to be the center of attention.

They may look alike at first sight, but the difference couldn’t be greater. People can feel when you don’t really believe in something. Whereas you can be a bit fumbly and insecure about what you’re doing, and by being convinced it’s what you want to do, you will often be forgiven and responded well to. So don’t try to fake what’s going on.


One thing at a time

Another tip is to practice only one thing at a time. Like with sports, you need to work on different aspects of your technique separately, before bringing them all together. Don’t go out more and not pay attention to any of the techniques. Just winging it won’t bring you new insight or growth.

Then again, don’t try to do everything at the same time as that will make you stilted and slow. Take one thing every day, every time you go out, and work on it until you can feel the progress.


The laws of networking

The following laws of networking might be a bit spiritual and abstract, but I’ll translate some of those Laws into Networking Attitudes that have an effect on the amount of recognition and reward you receive for your efforts.


Law 1 – 6 degrees of separation

We’re all connected. Whoever you want to reach is closer than you think. It only takes a few well-chosen steps to get where you would like to be. The Web consists of smaller spheres, groups of people that are connected by places, professions or beliefs that are accessible to you.

To move ‘up’ in the world often means moving into those spheres that attract you and present an evolution as opposed to your previous situation.

If we learn to use our network effectively, we can reach people a lot quicker and easier than we often imagine.


Law 2 –The matrix of purpose

Everybody has things they want to achieve. Especially those with professional success. Everybody also already has a close network, again especially those that are already successful. That means that a new connection has to have an added value.

When we learn to see the Matrix of what everyone wants and needs, a path becomes clear on how we can get to where we want and need to be. It runs through those people that we can add value to, who then connect us to others and so on.


Law 3 – The law of give and take

Every system is in balance. Those who only take, stop receiving. Those who give will receive, if they can accept it. Give and Take has a way of balancing itself out in the long run.

A relationship where one person gives more than the other, will break or correct itself. This is why people that Give in a smart and deliberate way, are bound to Receive plenty on the other side. The Law of the Web implies that the receiving can come from a different corner than where the giving is done.


Law 4 – The law of atmospheres

Similar people search each other out instinctively. When someone feels the other shares their values, socio-economic status, sense of humor, hobbies… they tend to cluster. That’s how you get groups. Every group has its ‘atmosphere’, the common denominator of what is deemed valuable and acceptable.

When networking, it’s very important to be aware of this atmosphere and to adapt to it. As an individual, you’ll seldomly win against a whole group’s atmosphere. The group makes the rules. If you want to join, you have to go through its rites. This goes for friends, families but also for teams, departments and companies.

Think well before you try to join a group; is it really something for you? You might like a certain job on paper, but is this the kind of atmosphere you want to dwell in? You’ll have to adapt to it, live in it. Your best career move might make you very unhappy because you don’t feel welcome or comfortable with your colleagues.

Reflect on the kind of atmosphere you prefer, and take it into account when making decisions.


If you’d like to find out more about networking then download and read the eBook “Authentic Networking” written by Benjamin Ball.