Networking and Belonging

by Chi Chi Okezie

As we continue to navigate through this “new” normal, networking has definitely changed. We are re-imagining how we connect (in person and virtually). As well as, how we foster meaningful relationships. Savvy networkers are learning nuances associated with these changing, challenging and difficult times. One way to stay consistent and advance in our networking endeavors is to consider the role of “belonging” within our networks. How does this motivate our desire to advance? How can this influence our networks? How can this be a priority for building quality relations?

Let’s take a deeper dive into the importance of belonging and how we can utilize it in our networking plan.

By Definition

The online definition of belonging is: the human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, a religion, or something else, people tend to have an ‘inherent’ desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves. (Wikipedia) Associated synonyms include but are not limited to: rapport, closeness, partnership, relationship, affinity, affiliation, link, inclusion, connections, etc. Within our networks do these words align with our mission, groups / memberships, counterparts, etc.? Being able to belong or connect is critical in positioning ourselves with these networks. It is a vital piece to the puzzle and guides / directs our networking paths.

By Core Value

Besides understanding the definition of belonging, it is also essential to align it with our core values for networking. Being intentional, having a plan and being active in our networks ensures that “belonging” can be properly nurtured. The best thing to do is make a list of our personal / professional core values. Revise them, if necessary, and make conscious efforts to use them in our strategies. Staying consistent with our mission, purpose and vision for our networking equates to continued success.

By Design

Along with incorporating “belonging” into our overall networking methods, make sure to use it as a mechanism for shaping proper networks. Which individuals or organizations do you value and want to build rapport? Are their goals, values and missions similar to yours? How do they “show-up” and present their brand, both internally and externally? Designing a viable network(s), takes time and strong consideration. Being mindful of the company you keep, impacts your behaviors, intentions and image.

Use these helpful tips to infuse belonging into your networking practices. Be intentional, purposeful and conscious in developing relations. Rely on good judgement, core values and strategic plan to build upon the right goals.

About the author

Chi Chi Okezie is owner / producer of SIMPLEnetworking, LLC in Metro-Atlanta, GA, USA. Visit the SN Official Website: http://www.snseminars.com to read excerpts of her books, sign up for her newsletter and follow her blog and social media. Also, take online networking courses: https://simplenetworking.thinkific.com to gain tips and techniques to network more efficiently

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