Networking…The Great Equalizer

December 15, 2009 by
Filed under: Networking 

networking8 247x300 Networking…The Great EqualizerEvery­one who is in just about every type of endeavor today has a vested inter­est in being a net­worker. Today, with the rise of social media and the influ­ence of online net­work­ing groups, the need to be able to net­work with oth­ers is more impor­tant than ever and that is why I call net­work­ing The Great Equalizer.

In today’s world, if one wants to have a suc­cess­ful career or a suc­cess­ful busi­ness or orga­ni­za­tion of any kind, there is really no such thing as a safe haven. The ease of com­mu­ni­ca­tion across the World Wide Web has enabled vir­tu­ally any­one in the world to gather some form of infor­ma­tion about vir­tu­ally any topic includ­ing you and/or your ven­ture. So what do you want peo­ple to know about you?

Online net­work­ing vs. in per­son networking

I’ve been in many con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple who are adamant sup­port­ers of either online net­work or in per­son net­work­ing. Many have said, “Yes, both forms of net­work­ing are impor­tant, but I pre­fer online net­work­ing over in per­son net­work­ing”.  My response is “Why not both?” Both forms of net­work­ing have their dis­tinct pros and cons of course.  But when it comes to one or the other, I say go for both and then pri­or­i­tize how much of your time you’re will­ing to spend on each form.

One of the pros for online net­work­ing ver­sus in per­son net­work­ing is the num­ber of peo­ple you can reach in a short amount of time. There are a num­ber of pro­fes­sional and social web­sites that allow a per­son to build their net­work. One of my favorite pro­fes­sional net­work­ing sites is LinkedIn.com.  On LinkedIn there are over 50 mil­lion pro­fes­sion­als con­nected. Other sites such as face­book, zoominfo.com, Twit­ter, and Plaxo to name a few are great and they are all very help­ful in build­ing your net­work. One of the cons of online net­work­ing is that for all the peo­ple you meet online, it’s not always easy to make a strong per­sonal con­nec­tion when meet­ing some­one online ver­sus in per­son. When you meet some­one in per­son, there is a strong “human fac­tor” involved.

So what’s the pro of “in per­son” face to face net­work­ing? As men­tioned a moment ago, it’s the abil­ity to have the human fac­tor involved. When a per­son meets some­one face to face, there is a stronger sense of the per­son they are meet­ing. When peo­ple meet each other face to face, the oppor­tu­nity to read facial expres­sions, body pos­ture, the feel of a person’s hand­shake, all add to the over­all judg­ment of one per­son by another. This to me is one of the strongest attrib­utes of net­work­ing. Why? Because when I net­work with peo­ple I enjoy learn­ing about them and what they are look­ing for when meet­ing oth­ers. For me, I can tell a lot from the way a per­son speaks with me and the way they greet me or oth­ers. For exam­ple, ever have some­one shake hands with you and it’s like hold­ing a limp dead fish?  If you have, how does that make you feel about the per­son you’re meet­ing? If this doesn’t give you a neg­a­tive impres­sion of the per­son, then you’re in the minor­ity. Many peo­ple do not enjoy shak­ing the hand of some­one who shakes with a limp grip.

Accord­ing to a Uni­ver­sity of Alabama study :

“(Peo­ple) with a firm hand­shake were more extraverted and open to expe­ri­ence and less neu­rotic and shy than those with a less firm or limp handshake.”

Stud­ies also show that a per­son who shakes with a limp dead-fish style grip are seen as not hav­ing much con­fi­dence in them­selves and that they may not be able to be counted on. What type of per­son would you want to have a per­sonal or busi­ness rela­tion­ship with, a per­son who can be counted on or a per­son who can’t be counted on? When you meet some­one, wouldn’t it be nice to know if you could count on them or not? At least get a lit­tle sense of “Can I believe or trust what this per­son is say­ing?” When meet­ing some­one in per­son the human fac­tor plays a big part. Try shak­ing someone’s hand via an online connection.

(Please Note: This arti­cle is spe­cific to west­ern style cul­tures. Dif­fer­ent cul­tures have dif­fer­ent norms when it comes to face to face net­work­ing. So when net­work­ing or meet­ing peo­ple in dif­fer­ent cul­tural set­tings, it’s wise to research the norms of that cul­ture prior to being involved in such a setting.)

Which form of net­work­ing is best for me?

networking7 300x213 Networking…The Great EqualizerThis all depends upon a person’s goals. If a per­son sim­ply wants to meet peo­ple to social­ize online, they can go online and join the mul­ti­tude of online social net­work­ing forums. If a per­son wants to meet peo­ple and spend more time with oth­ers for, let’s say, danc­ing or book read­ings, face to face in per­son net­work­ing may be the best option. When it comes to busi­ness, I say use both forms and not just one or the other. Both forms of net­work­ing are very impor­tant and can lead to a rela­tion­ship that is both enjoy­able and mutu­ally beneficial.

Over­all, the mes­sage here is that both forms of net­work­ing are impor­tant. In today’s world, it is so easy to make a con­nec­tion online via a busi­ness or social net­work­ing group that it is becom­ing more the norm.

A Great Equalizer

Going back to my ear­lier descrip­tion of net­work­ing being a great equal­izer, I hold it to be true today more than ever because regard­less of what form of net­work­ing you choose to do, the peo­ple in your net­work will also be net­work­ing. As part of their net­work­ing, they too will be research oth­ers via peers and con­tacts. The nice thing about net­work­ing that I find is that the more you net­work, the more infor­ma­tion is shared. The infor­ma­tion shared will always be about a com­pany, orga­ni­za­tion or an indi­vid­ual and a person’s expe­ri­ence with them. Dur­ing this inter­ac­tion, the pros and cons about the per­son are placed in full view. If the per­son or orga­ni­za­tion has done any­thing uneth­i­cal, or legally ques­tion­able in the past, the infor­ma­tion will always come out via net­work­ing sooner or later. At the same time, if the per­son has done good things (e.g. done good work, helped make a con­nec­tion, suc­ceeded in pro­vid­ing a ser­vice as requested, etc.) this will also come out via net­work­ing sooner or later.

Prob­a­bly what is most fas­ci­nat­ing is that every­one, regard­less of level or posi­tion, can gather the infor­ma­tion about any­one for any rea­son. In turn, every­one today has the abil­ity to share infor­ma­tion about them­selves, or about an orga­ni­za­tion they belong to or a ser­vice they can pro­vide. No longer is the abil­ity to reach some­one left to the pow­er­ful exec­u­tive or well con­nected politi­cian. Every­one now has the same abil­ity, thanks to the forms of net­work­ing in use today. So regard­less of the per­son, whether it’s a CEO of a multi­bil­lion dol­lar inter­na­tional com­pany or a fresh­man in col­lege, peo­ple can both gather and pro­vide infor­ma­tion about them­selves to and for any­one else for any pur­pose. The play­ing field has now been set and is now open to all via today’s var­i­ous forms of networking.

Great Net­work­ing Sites

Below are some of the many net­work­ing sites that I’ve come across and use either for per­sonal or busi­ness rea­sons. If you know of any oth­ers not shown below, why not share them with oth­ers via a comment!

  1. Biznik.com – An online com­mu­nity of entre­pre­neurs and small busi­nesses ded­i­cated to help­ing each other succeed.
  2. Classmates.com – Great online com­mu­nity for con­nect­ing with peo­ple you went to school with.
  3. Ecademy.com – A busi­ness net­work for cre­at­ing con­tacts and shar­ing knowledge.
  4. Entre­pre­neur Connect.com – A com­mu­nity by Entrepreneur.com where pro­fes­sion­als can net­work, com­mu­ni­cate, and col­lab­o­rate with others.
  5. Eons.com – a social net­work­ing site for baby boomers. The site pro­vides games, photo and video shar­ing, groups, how-to lists, inter­views, links and infor­ma­tion on health, rela­tion­ships, fit­ness, debt, retire­ment and insurance.
  6. Facebook.com – The one and only. This site is one of the most used social net­work­ing sites of the internet.
  7. Fast Pitch.com – Net­work where pro­fes­sion­als can mar­ket their busi­ness and make connections.
  8. Focus.com – This is a com­mu­nity focused on help­ing busi­ness deci­sion mak­ers and IT pro­fes­sion­als make decisions.
  9. LinkedIn.com – Prob­a­bly the num­ber one online busi­ness net­work­ing site on the internet.
  10. Meetup.com – an online social net­work­ing por­tal that facil­i­tates offline group meet­ings. The site allows mem­bers to find and join groups uni­fied by a com­mon inter­est, such as pol­i­tics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers or hobbies.
  11. PartnerUp.com – An online com­mu­nity con­nect­ing small busi­ness own­ers and entrepreneurs.
  12. PerfectBusiness.com – A net­work of investors, entre­pre­neurs, and busi­ness experts encour­ag­ing entre­pre­neur­ship and mutual success.
  13. Plaxo.com – An enhanced address book tool for net­work­ing and stay­ing in con­tact with your network.
  14. Reunion.com – a very good net­work­ing site to get back in con­tact with peo­ple you went to school with.
  15. Ryze.com – A busi­ness net­work­ing com­mu­nity that allows users to orga­nize them­selves by inter­ests, loca­tion, and cur­rent and past employers.
  16. StartupNation.com – An online group focused on the exchange of ideas between entre­pre­neurs and aspir­ing busi­ness owners.
  17. Talkbiznow.com – an online com­pre­hen­sive inter­ac­tive busi­ness net­work­ing site for busi­ness pro­fes­sion­als. By dis­play­ing how each mem­ber is con­nected to any other mem­ber, it visu­alises the small-world phenomenon.
  18. Twitter.com – Prob­a­bly one of the most pow­er­ful net­work­ing sites out there. Why? Because it pro­vides peo­ple with quick snip­pets of infor­ma­tion. Peo­ple use this site to share news arti­cles, lat­est hap­pen­ing links, pic­tures, and videos in addi­tion to a quick 140 char­ac­ter message.
  19. Upspring.com – A social net­work­ing site for pro­mo­tion and social networking.
  20. Young Entrepreneur.com – This is a forum-based site for small busi­ness own­ers and entre­pre­neurs who are pas­sion­ate about pro­mot­ing busi­ness for them­selves and others.
  21. Ziggs.com – A pro­fes­sional con­nec­tion por­tal founded on the prin­ci­ples of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and respect. Peo­ple can cre­ate their own pro­fes­sional web­page that high­lights who they are and what they are about here for free.
  22. Zoominfo.com – One of the sites most vis­ited by cor­po­rate and indi­vid­ual recruiters look­ing to fill a position.

For other great books on net­work­ing, check out the online store.

Comments

6 Intelligent Opinions, Leave Yours on Networking…The Great Equalizer

  1. Louis Pagan on Wed, 16th Dec 2009 4:20 pm
  2. Hey Gil, we used the same expres­sion in the same day “…great equal­iz­ers…” what are the chances?

    http://louispagan.com/why-latinos-should-take-up-social-media/

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Gil Pizano on Wed, 16th Dec 2009 6:53 pm
  4. Hey Louis, what are the chances of that indeed. How does that say­ing go? “Great minds think alike?” But really what are the chances. : )

    Gil

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Amy Hall on Wed, 23rd Dec 2009 1:37 pm
  6. Excel­lent arti­cle! I’d like to post it on Net­work­ing Event Finders!

    Amy Hall
    http://networkingeventfinders.com/
    .-= Amy Hall´s last blog ..Meet My Net­work =-.

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Dawn Billings on Sun, 24th Jan 2010 7:59 pm
  8. I would like to add two web­sites to your list that are just for women. One pro­vides inti­mate, infor­mal face to face net­work­ing designed just for Women, The Heart Link Net­work http://www.TheHeartLinkNetwork.com with over 120 loca­tions in 3 coun­tries, the other is The Heart Alliance http://www.TheHeartAlliance.com which is an inter­na­tional online pro­fes­sional women’s com­mu­nity I think your read­ers will enjoy both of them very much.

    Also, I noticed your arti­cle on encour­age­ment and inspi­ra­tion and thought I would share a web­site called http://www.WomenLiftingtheWorld.com that has short, encour­ag­ing inspi­ra­tional videos to lift the hearts of all who watch them. Thank you,

    Dawn Billings,
    http://www.TheHeartLinkNetwork.com
    http://www.TheHeartAlliance.com
    http://www.WomenLiftingtheWorld.com

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    […] He also gives a run­down of the top great social media/networking sites and what their tar­get mar­ket is. Which is worth the read!  Networking…The Great Equalizer […]

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    […] top great social media/networking sites and what their tar­get mar­ket is. Which is worth the read!  Networking…The Great Equal­izer Share and […]

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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