I have been part of the world’s largest business networking organisation BNI for a number of years. I have met a number of amazing people through my networking. One of the greatest lessons I have learnt is that if you want to increase your net worth, increase your network. Yet I find a lot of entrepreneurs and professionals shy away from a structured networking process. I often come across people giving excuses, like `I don’t know how to network’. From my years of networking experience, I can say that this stems from ignorance about networking.

Networking is as natural as breathing. Only those who are removed from the world do not network. Common people like us, however, stay in a world full of people, who meet us every day and interact with us.

We network at family celebrations, professional gatherings, charity events and community meets, and indulge in a small and serious talk. Networking can be done in two ways – naturally or with education. Yes, you read it right – there is a whole lot of education around networking.

Next time you are at a networking event, don’t just indulge in small talk. Network with a purpose – to make meaningful connections. Network with people who can synergise with you and you can add to your skillsets. Networking is a science which can be used for achieving your personal and professional goals. But for this, you need to drop the mindset that only a few can network effectively. Like anything in life, networking can be learnt. As more people learn the science, it will not remain the privilege of the few.

Networking is all about effective communication. It is about connecting the dots. For this, you need to develop the art of asking the right questions and engaging in meaningful conversations.

When you network with passion, you may not just build great connections, it could even result in amazing relationships. The true mark of a great networker is when he or she builds fabulous relationships. As in anything, it always begins with what you give to that relationship. As we say in BNI, Givers Gain and What goes around comes around.

In further blogs, I will share more insights about networking. For now, it’ll be great if you can share a good story from your networking experience. Please do share in the comments section.