When people ask, “What’s the point of networking?” they typically have more deep-seated discontent with the experience. The awkward interactions. The not knowing what to talk about with strangers. The feelings of insecurity, vulnerability, lack of authenticity. Oh, and the time… time you don’t get back. They don’t call it net-WORKING for nothing. This is hard work. It’s time-consuming. It can be exhausting.
So, back to the question: What’s the point of networking? The point of networking is relationship building. It’s connecting with others for professional, community and social pursuits. It’s creating and investing in your friendships. It’s establishing community. It’s creating a feeling of belonging – belonging to something bigger than oneself.
Networking is a type of currency. It doesn’t fit neatly into a wallet (though, business cards do!). You can’t use it to purchase groceries, but it is worth more than mere dollars and cents. When you network with others… when you connect with people… when you offer something of value – be it time, information and/or resources… you are earning social capital, you are earning trust, you are earning a solid reputation. These are items that money cannot buy – they are hard won spoils on battlefields of life!
When you have established a strong, broad relationship base, you always have people who will have your back – through thick and thin… when you need input or assistance or guidance or advice. That’s when you can put your earnings to work.
So, invest in yourself. Begin to earn your networking points. It will pay off in ways unimagined. The more you give, the more you will get. Guaranteed… money in the bank!
One thought to “Networking as Currency”
I love the closing paragraph – “the more you give, the more you will get.” That resonated deeply with me. I think to my personal friendships and networking relationships and the ones who add the most value to me are the ones I hold in high esteem. They, like this article, challenge me to continue to provide value and in return build my social currency. Love it!