We’ve talked a lot in the past about what networking is and isn’t.We know it isn’t selling, or taking advantage of other people (without them knowing about it). The best definition I’d heard was networking is the process of developing long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships. As definitions go, I’d say that wasn’t bad. Lately, though, I’ve been thinking a lot more about it and I’ve realized that this definition falls short. It’s missing something — something that beings with two words:

“so that…”

As in: I am building my network so that…

… I can get more clients for my business.
… I can advance in my current career.
… I can find a new career.
… I can become a center of influence in my community/industry/peer group.
… I can find a doctor, lawyer, dentist, plumber, auto mechanic, etc and trust that will be able to provide the services I need.
… I can find a good school for my children
… I can get the help I need to get my children into a good school.
… I can find supporters for the causes close to my heart.
… I can become a resource to support the success of others.
… I can live a life of success and significance.

As the saying goes, no one buys a 3/16-inch drill bit because they want a drill bit — they want a 3/16-inch hole. The network we are trying to build cannot be our goal. It’s a tool, just like that drill bit. It’s what we call on it to achieve which makes it worth building in the first place.

So, what is your “so that”?

Photo by: Mike Baird