Finding the fun in business networking

We’re all taught that networking is a great business tool. Unfortunately, networking is four parts work and hassle for every one part net. That’s not profitable enough for me. I like to connect more than 20 percent of the time. You put your best effort into having fun, why not turn networking into fun?

Try comparing how you network online to how you network in real life. Online, if you are doing the same thing that everybody else is doing, your personality does not show. In real life, you likely network by joining business groups and attending conferences. People see who you really are, but you network when you play tennis, play a round of golf, go bowling or meet people doing anything else you like to do. It’s with those people that you develop personal relationships that are most likely to lead to loyal customers, if you sell something they want.

The same holds true online. If you are only known in business circles, you could just be another drop in the bucket, but when you pursue your real-life passions and hobbies online and participate in the related forums and chats, you begin to develop relationships based on mutual trust and admiration that isn’t hindered by making the almighty dollar.

So, when you spend time posting online, make sure you visit websites just for pleasure. It doesn’t matter what your passion is, either; anything goes. All you have to do is include a brief business description and a link in your bio, then chat as honestly as you would with a friend. This does not mean that you should advertise your services. A link in your signature at the end of the post shouldn’t hurt anything, though. Stay on the topic at hand and enjoy your passion. Common ground unites more people than anything else in the world.

Where is the most unusual, or unexpected, place that you have made a business connection?