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Thursday, October 17, 2019

The benefits of networking

In reflecting back on some of the key things that have helped me be successful in life and career up to this point, perhaps the one key attribute that I continue to come back to time and time again is my ability to network - this ability to build and sustain meaningful relationships with a variety of business professionals and subject matter experts. This is a valuable life skill for anyone to have.

A while back, I wrote this brief primer on networking to introduce the concept to you. In this follow-up post, I go into more detail on how networking has personally benefited me through the years.

So, without further ado, here are some of the many benefits that can come with this two-way street of give-and-take and relationship building.

The exchange of helpful ideas and knowledge from experts. Through getting to know attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, financial planners, bankers, economists, elected officials and government employees, teachers and professors, people in the trades, chiropractors, nurses and doctors, people in marketing and advertising, caterers and restaurant owners, musicians, etc., etc., I've learned so much over the years about a variety of industries and fields; and I've walked away with practical tips, strategies, and resources from them that have been beneficial for my health and well-being, career, retirement planning, and various business ventures that I am or was involved with. And it's a two-way street - I've sought to help many people through the years with my own expertise in various subjects, like marketing, to name just one.

We can't be experts in everything, even though we all know that one person that really tries or claims to be, and so networking can help each of us better understand subjects that we can't, or simply don't want to, master ourselves.

Real, actual business can come out of networking. Everyone usually likes to do business with people they know and trust, and I'm no exception to that. I love to give my business to people I've gotten to know and build relationships with over a long period of time. In addition to these good people earning my direct business, though, I'm also always happy to recommend their products, services, and expertise to my family, friends, and other business associates, as well. Likewise, I've received plenty of business from my networking efforts over the years, too, in the form of various marketing, writing, and research projects.

Real employment can come out of networking. Over the years, I've been blessed to be able to secure regular, long-term employment from my extensive network of connections in business and education, and I've also helped others secure regular, long-term employment.

Staying current with trends. Tying into the first point about the exchange of knowledge and expertise, networking has helped me remain up-to-date on the latest in various fields, like technology and apps, social media and online marketing, higher education, the social sciences, business and finance, and world affairs, to name a few examples. Staying up to speed will ensure that you remain relevant and marketable (competitive) when it comes to employment and other professional opportunities. The opposite of relevant and marketable is the classic term "dinosaur," and you don't want to become a dinosaur. You don't want your career to become extinct.

As I explained in that intro to networking post, networking is such a valuable and important skill and activity, that entire organizations, events, and even social networking -style Web sites exist devoted to it. Get started today in building your network of trusted contacts.

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