Monday, March 31, 2008

Networking to Get Work - Selecting the right networks

Continuing the series of answers from my article in The Sun, the latest two questions look at the role of online networking and how to decide which networking to join.

Can I save time by joining an online network?

In addition to social networks, such as Facebook, there are an increasing number of online business networks such as Ecademy, LinkedIn and Word of Mouse.

Most will allow you to build and stay in touch with a much larger network than you could do otherwise. What they won’t do on their own is build relationships beyond a basic level. You can’t replace human interaction on the internet, even with a webcam!

When you’ve found the people online you want to network with, wherever possible you need to meet them in person. Not always possible in a global society, but it makes all of the difference.

How do I decide which network to join?

You need to know what you want to achieve from networking. Don’t join a network because someone invited you or you like the buzz.

You can broadly define business networks into three types, although there is overlap. Profile-Building networks get your name out there; Brain-Building networks provide support from other businesses or local or industry knowledge while Referral-Building networks focus on developing teams providing strong leads for each other.

When you know what you want to network for, research networks that suit those goals, whether locally, regionally or online and know what you need to, and can, commit to that network.

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