Monday, September 21, 2015

Use the Power of Networking to Build Community for Your Family

Can we use networking in our personal lives to do more than share pictures and give thumbs up?  You bet!


Why is community important?

We all have heard the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”.  But what does that proverb really mean?  It makes me think of community and how important it is to be intentional about building community for our families.  Community is defined as a group of people that share a common value.  This group of people provides a sense of belonging, support, friendship, and opportunities for learning and growth.  The reciprocal relationship between you and your community allows for an exchange of ideas and information.  As parents, it’s our obligation to maximize the benefits of community for our children.



What do you think of when you hear the word “networking?”

Social networking, like Facebook, is such a huge part of our culture right now, but did you know that successful organizations have been leveraging the concept of networking to maximize the potential of both the individual as well as the team and organization?  And they found out something else along the way… that the act of networking also improves employee satisfaction, engagement, and commitment!  

Can we use networking in our personal lives to do more than share pictures and give thumbs up?  You bet!  We are social animals and the better we are at socializing, the happier and more successful we are in family, friendship, work, education… in life.  And it’s not just about you - networking is a two way street that allows you, if you do it right, to help others in ways that are energizing and authentic to you.  Building and maintaining relationships are essential life skills that most people have only scratched the surface of.  Just like any other skill, networking requires practice in order to build competence.



 “But I HATE networking!!!”

In order to build a community for yourself and your family, you need to be skilled at networking.   I know what you are thinking….

It’s awkward!

I don’t want to be fake.”

Why would anyone want to talk to me?”

I feel like I’m imposing.

I get that it’s important, but I don’t know what to do.”



Don’t let these common barriers get in your way:

Lack of confidence.  Fear of rejection.  Not having a networking mindset.  Although it may not feel completely natural to you at first, you will feel more comfortable over time and with practice. Remember, you are doing this for your family.  Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.  Take risks, stretch yourself a bit, go outside your comfort zone.  It's especially hard for us introverts, but the long-term benefits outweigh the short term discomfort.


"How do I begin?" 

The networking recipe: 

1) Develop a networking mindset

2) Find common ground to get the ball rolling

3) Contribute to your network

4) Leverage your network

These four key ingredients will help you as you get started. Your children will also learn how to network and build community by observing as you model these behaviors.  Check back soon for specific strategies on these four key ingredients to the networking recipe!

Additionally, some online resources that can help you network are, Facebook Groups, and Yahoo Groups.  Just search for the type of group you are looking for based on the interest or value you are seeking.

Also, check out these 4 and 5 star books to further develop your networking skills:

The Frog and Prince: Secrets of Positive Networking To Change Your Life

Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

Community is out there waiting for you, take advantage of it and contribute to it!    

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