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Right Connect

February 2, 2010

There is enough material available on the web about how & why of networking. A wealth of information is available on how to use specific networking websites or portals to ones benefit. For those who are already deep into networking, the benefits and utility of the various tools/portals and their specific purposes are well known and recognized. However, for those who have been recently initiated into networking or many more who are yet un-initiated (there is huge number of such!); a primer may be of help.

 Let’s get it straight-The basic purpose of any networking is to get visibility, to tell all concerned, who you are, and what you have done & are doing. In that sense, even putting your resume on a job portal could be called networking. True, in a very loose sense, however, we are not talking about networking for getting Jobs in particular, we are discussing about Networking that goes beyond Jobs and introduces you to Opportunities that exist out there, in any form, shape or size.

 Let’s get started with the most basic but one of the most ignored networks – The Alumni Associations. It is surprising to know that a miniscule percentage of all people passing out from various educational institutes, actively remain in touch with other Alumni or are active in their Alumni Networks. The Alumni networks are the best forums for sharing the learning as all the members face universally similar situations in social & professional lives. Some of those who excel are in a position to help others learn. Many of the brave-heart who turn entrepreneur can not only share their experience but also have ready source of employees. In fact the Alumni Associations are the critical Industry-Institute link. The strongest Institutions derive their strength of visibility, not only from their well known capabilities, but also from the presence of a strong Alumni spread across the sphere.

 Having said all this, it is also a reality that most of us think of Alumni Networks when we need jobs or a change. That is where Professional Networks like Linkedin and Silicon India come to our rescue. Such sites allow you to create your own profile, connect with present & ex-colleagues and school/college mates, collect endorsements, and build online network. What’s more, these sites allow you to share your professional interests, let you discuss the books you like or your travel interests, allow you to answer questions and seek answers from others.

 There are others like ExecuNet (catering to executive level candidates with $100k+ salaries) and Business Networking International (www.bni.com) too.

 All these are multilevel networking tools which help you build a chain of contacts and let you leverage the 1st level network to get more contacts. Of course, not everyone that we wish to connect with is present on these professional networks. Besides, there is lot more to networking than just knowing ones designation & profession.

 The active forums on Social Networks are a great source of knowing the true self of a contact. Sites like Orkut and Facebook are great places to discuss & debate, to exhibit your extra curricular talents and to share interests and hobbies. Social Networks have brought in a revolution by allowing like minded people to connect and to get involved in projects and programs on social, personal as well as professional. If used responsibly and carefully, these networks can help you a great deal.

It has to be mentioned here that Professional & Social networks complement each other and are not mutually exclusive entities.

One important dimension that we cannot afford to miss out, is the scope of expression and interaction that each of these forums allow. So more than connecting with people and preparing/updating profiles, it is the communication and interaction which tells more about you.

Both, the professional as well as social networking platforms allow you the space to share your expertise and thereby be more visible in your chosen area. If your expertise lies in expressing yourselves and you are someone who wants to share your thoughts, ideas and your life, Blogs; the web based diaries are there just for that.

WordPress, Blogger, Typepad and many more sites allow you to blog and to say all that you want to say.  The advantage of a blog is the freedom of expression it gives without any fear of acceptance or non-acceptance (you can control the comments too). Blogs are a boon to those who wish to pen (or rather type) everything down.  They are also a boon to all the readers who wish to benefit from experience of others. A Blog is the easiest & fastest way to have your own place on the web.

From essays, to poems, travelogues, photo journals, news updates, community updates & what not, blogs are everywhere. And now with tools like twitter, you can be sharing your feelings even while on the move.

These tools are here to stay and with every passing day, we are finding new tools to stay connected and to collaborate. So if your idea of networking is still limited to the corporate gatherings or the club house parties, it is time to wake up and log on.

Remember, though, with so much of data available for public viewing, honesty would be the best policy lest you may have some uncomfortable questions to answer.

Categories: Networking Tags: ,
  1. February 2, 2010 at 4:06 pm
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