Are you increasingly socialising and networking with other people online?!

With the growth in popularity of social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, people are spending more and more time communicating with each other on line.

We are all now so interconnected and with the advances of social media, we are only a few keystrokes away from anyone else in the world.

At the same time, people are finding that it is now more vital than ever to have strong connections. Networking electronically is said to be the way forward, as the world becomes ever smaller.

The recent political developments in Tunisia and Egypt were greatly fuelled by the use of rapid messaging via Twitter which ultimately led to the incumbent regimes being overthrown.

Social media tools are here to stay, whether you like it or not.

However, where does this leave face to face human contact?

Ultimately, the depth of the connection you make with people is what ultimately bonds you to them. And what better place to do this than when you meet people face to face for the first time?

This is Day 18 of our “28 Day Relationships Adventure (DRA)” in February. You can read the previous 17 articles by following the links at the bottom of this post.

Today I want to look at how you further develop your network of offline connections.

Are you comfortable meeting strangers for business and social purposes? Just how can you convert strangers into useful contacts and friends who will support you with life and business goals?

“Networking” has been a buzzword for a while and people are realising that in the changing world, they have to get out there and actually meet other people.

Never mind the growing band of online social networks!

There are lots of so called networking events happening every day, whereby you get a chance to meet other guests and delegates. But how can you make the best use of these opportunities?

To start with, change your attitude. Drop the ‘what’s in it for me attitude’. Do not go around the entire room collecting and handing out business cards.

I was at an event a few months ago where one lady simply went around the room giving out her card without making any attempt to connect with anyone. That is not what networking is about.

Networking offline is simply about developing good long-term relationships:-

1. Develop a Good Close Network of Say 20 People

They in turn will have around 20 close contacts of their own, which they will be happy to share with you. So you immediately have introductory access to 400 people.

It is vital to develop this close network in the first place. This will take time and will require sustained effort on your part to maintain it.

2. Look at Ways to Contribute

Once you have developed a close network, look at ways of giving. Remember that it is always givers gain. People to whom you give will want to give to you. It is as simple as that.

Continue to develop your network by adding value. Perhaps your contacts might like to hear about a new money saving service, or a new book that you found interesting and so on.

3. Always Look to Expand your Network

Look to meet and interact with at least one new person every day. Engage with strangers and truly listen to them. Everyone has something to contribute. You have umpteen opportunities to meet people – work, social events, shops, parties, gym and so on.

Remember that you have two ears and one mouth – use them in that proportion as you listen to any acquaintance.

4. Cultivate the Relationship

Before trying to do any business with your network, build the relationship first. Really get to know the other person and understand his needs and desires.

The human touch is key.

This last point is possibly the most important one – seeing the other person as a fellow human being and connecting as people will have a deep effect on your future dealings with each other.

Also remember that the human touch is key even within your online network. So as you connect with others on Facebook or Twitter, connect at a deeper level and see how you can help others.

Ultimately, it all comes down to seeing every human interaction, online and offline, as yet another opportunity for contributing in the best way you can 🙂

Here’s the Daily Exercise for Today:-

Look through your list of contacts – and find someone whom you can help out today in some way.

Then do this everyday from today onwards – and please share in the comments section your own tips for helping those in your network.