Networking is not an exclusive skill set for extroverts. There are plenty of people who are excellent at networking that do not consider themselves the ‘life of the party’.
Likewise, there are many people who are proficient in socializing yet they are absolutely dreadful at networking.
Socializing: relating to or designed for activities in which people meet each other for pleasure.
Networking: interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career or business.
The main difference? The purpose of the interaction.
This knowledge is key before initiating conversation with business partners. Knowing the purpose for which you are engaging someone will give you control over the direction in which that relationship will grow.
If you approach interaction with the purpose of receiving some type of personal pleasure, you are seeking whether or not you will approve of them.
You may subconsciously begin the habit of depicting those you work with as friend or foe. This will set both you and others up for disappointment. Reason being? People are different. Inevitably, you will not click with everyone.
When you frequently find yourself in the midst of an awkward silence, chances are you approached conversation with the intent of pleasure.
If you are engaging in interaction with the purpose of furthering your career or business, you are seeking whether or not they will approve of you.
If you put aside the intention of making friends … you will naturally put less pressure on them – which makes the conversation easier for them.
Obviously, there will still be awkward silences on occasion because such is the story of life. However, by adjusting to this simple mindset you will successfully begin the process of developing your networking capabilities.
Published in August 2015 on LinkedIn by Alexis Maragni, this is still the most clear and concise starting point for establishing the differences between socialising – whether on line or personally and professional networking – ditto.