It is true what they say: when it comes to advancing in any industry, who you know is just as important as your skills and experiences.
Briefly, networking is the act of establishing connections with others to form mutually beneficial relationships. It’s about actively seeking opportunities and solutions. Inarguably, the more people you know, the more opportunities will come your way.
With the development of tools like Linkedin, modern practices, methods, and fruitful networking approaches have also transformed. While there are more ways than ever to network professionally, finding routes that prove rewarding without becoming time-consuming or emotionally draining remains a challenge.
Organic Networking Explained
The solution, according to many business experts, is organic networking. In place of traditional efforts, which places extreme social pressure on the professional, organic networking is about selectively and naturally creating genuine connections.
It places people on the forefront as individuals, humanizes the interactions, and ditches the agenda-heavy, formal approach, that modern-day professionals have come to resent.
See Opportunities Everywhere
Many feel pressured to attend networking events or conferences to create beneficial business relationships. Outside of being socially strenuous, these events tend to be jam-packed with individuals looking to capitalize on the talents of others with little thought to how they can serve as a resource.
Instead, organic networking prioritizes optimizing your current interactions rather than painstakingly seeking out formal networking opportunities. It gives power to your natural connections and is more relaxed, effortless, and rewarding than traditional methods.
In practice, it can be as small as starting a conversation with an acquaintance or initiating an interaction at the coffee shop. It may also come in the form of reaching out to former colleagues or staying in touch with friends from college. Even if these interactions don’t end in real business advancements, they’ll likely enrich your day-to-day life.
Balance the Conversation
Like a tennis match, any conversation should volley equally between the two participants. When entering the interactions, focus on staying genuinely curious about the other person. If your goal is to actively learn more about them, rather than discover how they might serve as a resource for you, then the relationship-building aspect will take care of itself.
Choose also to actively listen during all conversations—not just those which take place with a fellow professional. Eventually, impactful organic networking is less about volume and more about value. This practice can start as simple as remembering your barista’s name or asking your mail carrier how the family is. In acknowledging and recalling, you optimize the effects of even brief interaction, creating more organic enriched connections in both your personal and professional life.
Be Genuinely Helpful
When it comes to organic networking, attitude is everything. While traditional networking methods are self-driven, organic networking prioritizes the professional as an individual. Instead of starting an interaction by internally asking, “What can this person do for me?”, the successful organic networker asks, “How might I serve as a valuable resource for this person?”
This minor adjustment in mentality eliminates the pressure from networking interactions. It frees the engagement from the preoccupation of trying to win the communication and the stress of “selling” oneself. When you prioritize how you can be of service or value, relationships become effortless and genuine.
As a benefit, those who you have helped will instinctively seek ways to return the favor. In this way, an initial gesture of assistance sets the tone for a mutually beneficial relationship, and by valuing other individuals as mentioned, you’ll unintentionally create organic, genuine, and helpful connections.
By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano
President and CEO of Barbachano International (BIP), the Human Capital Solutions leader in Mexico, Latin America, and the USA, offering high-impact executive search, executive coaching, and outplacement.
At Barbachano International, we understand the importance of recruiting and the return on investment that top talent can deliver for you. With 27 years in the industry, we know firsthand how imperative it is for an organization to have the right people to achieve its business objectives. We help you avoid painful hiring mistakes and reduce turnover by identifying top performers for your team that result in long-term success.