Expanding Your Social Network

Social Networking… Away from the computer

In our world today, social networking has become a way of life for many people. It has also become an effective marketing strategy used by businesses with very little cost involved. However, I am not writing to tell you about the importance of social networking. While social networking on the Internet is important, I want to take a look at the real meaning of the words “social networking”.

At its root, social networking means interacting with others to form some sort of connection between individuals. It has nothing to do with the Internet! In fact some might argue that social networking, as we know it, isn’t really “social” because people are interacting in a non-personal way. I don’t necessarily agree with this, but it is an interesting way to look at it. So what would social networking look like if we put it into practice away from our computer or smart phone?

First, it would take many people out of their comfort zones. It is much easier to communicate with someone over the Internet because you can retype your sentences to make them sound exactly how you want. Interacting face to face can be nerve racking, and even dreadful for some. What if you were to “add friends” to your real life social network as frequently as you do to your online social networks? What would this look like? It would require you to walk up to someone that you don’t know very well, or possibly don’t know at all, and have a conversation with him or her. This sounds scary to some, but true networking requires people to step out of their comfort zones.

I recently heard a man by the name of Jason Womack speak at a small gathering. Jason is well known around the world for being an educator to business executives. He helps companies put together strategies for better organization and increased productivity. When I heard him speak, there was one thing that really stuck in my mind from his talk. He told the group to “be comfortable with being uncomfortable”. This means that if you want to be productive as a firm or individual, then you need to get used to being in uncomfortable situations. You will find that getting out of your comfort zone to meet new people will allow you to create new networks, friends, business opportunities, and also build your self-confidence.

I would like to leave you with a bit of a challenge. Try to meet someone new each week, or even daily. Go up to a random stranger, shake their hand, and strike up conversation with them. What is the worst that could happen? They could ignore you, but at least you can say you tried. On the other hand, what is the best that could happen? The possibilities are endless. Imagine the connections you could make in a year if you talked to one new person every day. Get out of your comfort zone and who knows, you might end up meeting someone that changes your life forever.