th images menu user export search eye clock list list2 arrow-left untitled twitter facebook googleplus instagram cross photos entrep-logo-svg

Why Building a Community Is More Important Than Networking

"You should stop networking and start building relationships that matter"
By Sujan Patel |

Why Building Community Is More Important Than Networking

Image credit: Shutterstock.com
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

 

 

From the day we enter the professional world -- and even before that -- the need to network is hammered into our brains. We need to put ourselves out there, make connections and grow our network in order to advance in our careers.

 

Yet while the overall concept isn't wrong, the way we often go about it is.

 

Networking isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. It’s helped me grow hundreds of companies and build my personal brand. But when we approach networking solely with a “What’s in it for me” mindset, it becomes less about value and more about selling yourself.

I recently sat down with Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh, co-founders of The Community Company, to discuss their upcoming book, Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Relationships that MatterHere’s what they had to share with me about the importance of community-building.

 

 

Start with self-awareness

With The Community Company, Gerber and Paugh build community-driven programs for global brands and media companies. But they caution that before you can begin to build a community, you need to first look inward.

 

“It really starts with getting to know yourself,” Paugh told me. “Before you can really get to know other people and get to build great relationships with them, you have to understand what kind of person you are and what ways to build connections in your life are going to work best for you.”

 

Depending on whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, how you go about building community will be fundamentally different. For me, I know I thrive best communicating face-to-face in small group settings. That’s why I throw smallnetworking dinners whenever I travel. This allows me to meet new people and connect in a setting I’m comfortable in; and it’s had a huge impact on my professional network.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

 

 

Make over your mindset

“Nobody likes a networker,” Gerber told me. “In the book, we’re not trying to offer tips or tactics. Those words have led to the destruction of what networking started as, to a hacking of relationship-building.”

 

Instead, building community and growing your network requires a “total mindset shift.” It’s not something you can learn overnight. It’s not simply a matter of applying a five-step program for success. You need to focus on making connections that provide value -- and not necessarily monetarily.

Once you’re comfortable in your own skin, you can go out and build the community that works best for you. And that means creating the community that will allow you to succeed and help you help others succeed, too. It’s those mutually beneficial relationships that turn your connections into a community.

 

 

Don’t mistake technology for "community"

In today’s world, we’re constantly connected. And while technology may seem like a benefit in terms of building community, it can sometimes be a detriment. For me, I’m never without my cell phone, and I’m constantly in tune with my social networks, tracking my likes and followers. But these kinds of metrics are ultimately meaningless when it comes to identifying and growing our communities.

 

As Gerber said, “I believe people conflate being connected with being a connector, and those are fundamentally different principles.” Those vanity metrics of likes and shares lead us to believe we’ve built something when we actually haven’t, he pointed out.

 

Technology should be used to amplify your community, but it’s not your community itself. You can create meaningful relationships online by using these tools, but you need to be focused on providing value.

 

 

Profit is not a bad thing

In the community-building world, there’s somewhat of a stigma about gaining profit from your community. But that shouldn’t be the case; we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about seeking profits. Building a community takes time and effort, and we all need to get something out of the relationships we invest in. Whether that’s opportunity or companionship, there needs to be some kind of mutual benefit for both parties. As Paugh said, “A lot of community builders fail because they don’t think about how they’re profiting.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

 

But striving for profit doesn’t mean you should resort to the stereotypical habits of networkers. Instead, be a "superconnector." While networkers have a transactional mindset, superconnectors are more focused on a value exchange. When I meet new people, I’m not thinking right away about how they can help me. Instead, I’m committed to building that relationship, that community, with the idea that when the time comes, I’ll have somewhere to turn.

On this note, Gerber told me, “‘Your network is your net worth’ is nothing new. How strong those bonds are is crucial to your fundamental success. The difference is, are people willing to help you when the time comes? That’s the defining moment to show how strong your community actually is.”

 

 

*****

 

 

Copyright © 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors

Latest Articles

Which PH Blue-Chips Have Become More Affordable as the Stock Market Enters Bear Territory?

The PSE index’s fall to its lowest in 18 months may be worrisome for some but creates buying...

byPauline Macaraeg | June 22, 2018 09:00:00

Who Are the Top 50 Revenue-Generating Startups in the Philippines?

Entrepreneur Philippines releases a first-ever online ranking of the country’s leading startups...

byLorenzo Kyle Subido and Roel Landingin | June 22, 2018 07:00:00

4 Tasks Successful Leaders Should Delegate

As a business owner, you can't possibly do everything -- and you need to not only accept that fact...

byPeter Daisyme | June 22, 2018 06:00:00

The Secret Weapon 2 Famous Founders Deployed to Build Their Mega-Successful Companies

As Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos found, success comes when you turn your business into a reflection of...

byNatasa Lekic | June 22, 2018 02:00:00

This Pinoy Air Travel Company Just Launched New Flights from Manila to Clark and Puerto Galera

AirTrav is now open for bookings

byKhatrina Bonagua for FHM.com.ph | June 22, 2018 00:00:00

Crazy Rich Asians of Davao? Ayala’s 70 Luxury Condos Priced Up to Php81-M Sold in Less Than 24 Hours

The president’s hometown is not just the nation’s new political capital but also a hot luxury...

byPauline Macaraeg | June 21, 2018 14:00:00

Unsolicited Proposal to Build 11-Km Makati Subway Acknowledged by City Gov’t

Costing $3.7 billion, the project still has to be negotiated by the LGU and proponent IRC Properties

byElyssa Christine Lopez | June 21, 2018 13:00:00

PH Platform Helps Firms Access Over 2K Online Courses To Upskill Workers

STORM Learning carries courses covering various industries and sourced from around the world

byLorenzo Kyle Subido | June 21, 2018 10:00:00

Apl.De.Ap Supports Scholarship Program to Teach Creative Artists to Become Savvy Entrepreneurs

The deadline for application for the initial batch of 40 scholars is on July 8

byElyssa Christine Lopez | June 21, 2018 09:00:00

6 Scientifically Proven Moves You Can Make to Boost Office Productivity

Who knew plants were anything more than a decorative touch?

byMoe Kittaneh | June 21, 2018 06:00:00

Does Your Team Love Coming to Work? Follow These 7 Strategies to Make Sure

A good product or service is wonderful, but great talent is your life force

byJaleh Bisharat | June 21, 2018 02:00:00

This Former Brand Marketer Now Sells "Demi-Fine" Jewelry in Online Shop

Modern Myth has delicate pieces in gold, sterling silver and semi-precious stones

bySteph Sison for Preview.ph | June 21, 2018 00:00:00
Close