If you use the word “Network” as a verb, you are using it wrong.

Think about it … you DO a VERB, you HAVE a NOUN. I don’t know about you, but I personally would rather HAVE something than DO something!

Admittedly, I am a hard core extrovert. If I am in the house too long, I literally start to itch. I love being around people and that is where I get my energy.

HOWEVER, I truly hate networking (VERB!) by going to “forced” professional events. When people are in networking mode, conversations stay on the surface and people are typically listening only for information that will benefit them. The small talk is usually mind-numbing and leaves me counting the seconds until I can leave the conversation.

Nevertheless, by seeing a network as something to have and to share, it makes the process of developing one a joy and something to truly look forward to.

Building a network (NOUN!) doesn’t happen while you are standing with a crab cake in your left hand (and hopefully using sanitizer on the other); it happens when you form REAL connections and begin to professionally and personally trust, value and serve others.

Networks form when you:

  • work side-by-side, offering advice and feedback on the daily business dilemmas we all have (one of the things I love about being in a coworking environment rather than working at home)
  • serve alongside others (volunteering with Habitat for Humanity is a great way to connect with those in your community)
  • grab coffee or lunch together (the Chamber does a great job of encouraging these one-on-one opportunities)
  • ACTUALLY talk to others at community and family events (commiserate with another parent over the fact that you hate going to your kid’s soccer games … believe me, you are not alone)

And … don’t judge me for this one ….

Eavesdrop! I cannot tell you the number of valuable contacts (and friends) I have made by simply saying “I couldn’t help but overhear that you are in need of ____________. I have a friend who ____________ and he would love to help you _____________.” No one has ever acted offended by my nosiness and I have received quite a few coffee invitations from it after being invited to sit and share more of my network.

My goal in business and in life? To be a resource and to serve others by helping THEM meet THEIR goals. And you know what? Good things ALWAYS comes back around.

This Monday was a perfect example:

  • David Buist of Ferrara|Buist Commercial General Contractors was having lunch with a client who didn’t want to drive all the way back to Charlotte to get his work done for the afternoon. David sent him to us so we could welcome him for a free trial day of coworking!
  • Corree Carelock of OTS Media Group had a BNI member who needed a space to hold workshops and develop his business. She knew our Training Room and Studio would be perfect solutions, so she sent him to us.
  • Jeffrey Terrell, owner of Lawn Monkeys Fort Mill, does great things in our community through local recreational leagues. By turning to us as a resource, we have been able to help when mother nature has put a kink in his plans. He has been a great advocate for us, sending his contacts here for meeting space!

By being able to help their personal and business contacts to solve their problems via referrals, these folks proved themselves as valuable resources as well. Everyone wins!!!

Want to learn more about serving (rather than taking) in the professional world? Check out JD Ross, one of our members, and his podcast, Soul Minded Business!

Do you need to develop your network or simply be around those with similar values and goals? Give us a call at 803-548-5666 and come work and grow with us at LOOM. We would be happy to welcome you into our LOOM Networking family!