“It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know.” Chances are, that is something you have heard once or twice in your life … a well-meaning parent, a mentor, or supportive colleague. This begs the question, “How much truth is there to this?”
In reality, this is sage advice, but at the same time, it is also partially a myth. Who you know is more important than what you know. The world has more than its share of brilliant people that fall far, far from their true potential because they study away on incredible scholarly projects all by them self. At the same time, far less brilliant people rise to great heights merely on the connections they have. For example, Bill Gates was not the smartest computer person going. He was simply a smart computer mind with a plethora of connections.
But as much as who you know is important, the world also has more than its share of individuals that seemingly know lots of people but get very little from this network. How is this possible? Quite simply, it is more than who you know.
Effective networking is not just about knowing people. And it is so much more than making dozens of calls, posting on LinkedIn, and attending events. This is the simple reality: Effective networking is not just about connecting with and being connected to others. Effective networking is about having meaningful relationships with those you are connected with.
Success will not come from filling your database with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people. You will achieve success by creating relationships with a reasonable number of people. These can include centers of influences (such as, bankers, attorneys, accountants, outplacement professionals). These relationships could also be with existing professionals, which have a network of family, friends, and acquaintances that want a similar professional existence. These relationships could be with a wide variety of different types of people directly, indirectly, and even seemingly completely unrelated to what you do. Whatever the case, the important thing is that you have a solid RELATIONSHIP with them.