Networking is something all of us do in one way or another. It could be with business associates, the checker at the grocery store and the list goes on and on. When collaborating with small businesses as a business coach in The Woodlands one of the things that is brought up is networking.
Specifically, the owner wants to know if he or she needs to do it. And, if it is needed, how to be most effective in going about it. Yet, before we get into whether or not to network, let’s take a look in this post as to the origins of the word networking.
Depending on the research, it appears that the first use of the word “network” was in the 1550’s in England. Some sources say it was earlier. In any event, the word network comes from two words, net and work.
Now the word net, the first half of the word network, has been around since ancient times. And, it referred to nets to catch fish. In England, in the 1550’s when someone constructed a net it started being called network. For example, someone may look at the net that was just constructed and say, “That’s a nice piece of network.”
In America, the first use of the word “network” was in 1839 when it was used to describe an interlocking system of rivers and canals.
Since 1914 it has been used to describe a group of radio transmitters in various locations and owned by the same company, radio network. And as time went on telephone and television networks were developed.
It wasn’t until the 1960’s that it was used to describe interconnected computers. And, I find this the most interesting, the word “networking” was not used until the late 1970’s or early 1980’s to describe an interconnected group of human relationships.
Now, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds, with the advent of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is the interconnected people side of networking.
As a business coach in Houston and as a business coach in The Woodlands, I have seen through experience and results and believe that for many, not all, small businesses, that networking can be beneficial.
Networking can increase exposure while adding the most important element to small business branding and marketing, the personal presence and touch. Personal networking can establish you and your brand in ways that no amount of advertising can do.
And, if you are in the personal services business, as I am, good networking becomes a valuable asset. Yet, what works for a personal service business when it comes to networking may only be of minimal or no benefit for a different type of business.
Now that we have some of the history of networking, we see that it has morphed over time into what we know today as personal connections. Networking is about connections.
Making a connection is good. Yet, making a good connection in your networking is the best. In the next post, we will look at the mindset that is necessary to successfully network and how to make better connections.