Networking – different images can come to mind with this loaded word.

On the negative side you might picture a tacky cocktail reception with people milling around looking for the next potential sale, not caring at all about the people or their interests.

It can also be a powerful word and one that conjures up images of getting closer to your own goals as a result of working together with a group of people all focused on similar outcomes.

Networking is a key component to our membership and we design our programs to make it a prominent part of the agenda when we get together face-to-face. At our BGNLive conference last week I was really drawn into recognizing the nuances of networking and the powerful results that can come from it.

The catalyst for change
When you are with a group of people who are all working toward the same goal, networking becomes one of the most critical components to change – it can create that catalyst needed to get started or stay motivated. When you really choose to participate in sharing ideas with one another there are so many things you can gain from it:

  • find validation or re-direction of current ideas
  • look for answers to challenges
  • gain further motivation to continue what you’re doing
  • get ideas for new programs or processes

This list could go on extensively. The point is that when you choose to share with others and allow them to share with you (ideas, challenges, fears, successes), you’ll gain ten-fold from it.

R&D: Rob & Duplicate
We had a member describe how it’s taken 5 years to develop a system that, from the outside, looks so simple and effortless. It looks so effortless and it’s taken so long because of all the trials along the way of what didn’t work.

When you get the chance to learn from someone else’s trials and mistakes like this and see the elegant end result – take advantage of it! Sure you want to put your own spin on it, but having a solid starting point will get you at least halfway there. The remainder comes from the effort you put into it back at home.

It takes time
Being able to get to the point of this level of comfort and sharing comes with time. It takes a while to develop these kinds of trusting relationships by meeting face-to-face and continuing the connections all year round. I have watched the group, now over three conferences, getting to know one another, greeting and welcoming the new faces, reuniting with favorite friends, and opening up more and more. As everyone becomes more comfortable, the sharing increases, the ideas are exchanged, and you can feel a level of excitement and energy in the room that feels like that tipping point of change – the Ah Ha! moments as people realize they’re not in this alone and they’re probably being a lot more successful than they might have otherwise thought. The power of the group is a strong motivator to get started and keep going.

Effort = Results
All-in networking is a huge boon for your business if done effectively and consistently because it can shorten your learning curve and speed the time to successful implementation of new ideas.

When you have the opportunity to network with a group of similarly focused people who are serious about improving their businesses, I highly recommend taking full advantage of every bit that you can. Networking is as good as the effort you put into it.