Networking Skills

Some old-school business people believe that networking is their stack of business cards; once upon a time, it was a device call a Rolodex.  These are physical manifestations of personal contacts, and for that group of business cards from a particular meeting, held together with a rubber band, grouped relationships of those with similar interests, ideas and goals.  The purpose of networking is to draw benefit from these relationships for all involved in an enterprise.  

Every individual within a given human network has reasons to be in some way related to others. The value of a network analysis results from understanding the significance of particular individuals and mapping their connections, mutual interests, familial ties, interest in particular paid services, etc., help determine the motives of the greater network and the prospects and limitations to your business and marketing plans.

Solid communication and social skills are critical for successful networking, and heavily influence your ability to develop and market your business. Taking the time to perceive opportunities and identify the “key nodes” of any human or infrastructural network yields nothing but benefits.  Please take time to consider the Marketing and Communication pieces listed in the sidebar and present elsewhere on AgMRC.

Some additional resources on network theory.

  • Basic Network Concepts - This document progresses into computer network theory, but begins with a nice treatment of human networks.
  • How Human Networking Works - Author Keith Ferrazzi's writings on the thinking behind successful networking.
  • Human Networks - A detailed conceptual approach to understanding the underpinnings of within-group and between group interactions.