“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have always been wired to network. I love sharing information; connecting cool people with other cool people, seeing groups come together for a common cause. There’s strength in numbers. Jesus said, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30).
Because networking is so much a part of my personality, I have been teased a lot. I had even begun to think I was a bit strange – until I realized Jesus was a networker. He had to be. He took twelve folks and revolutionized the world. He turned it upside down!
He had a life-changing message that He imparted into mankind through the networking of men. The twelve disciples told some people, and they told some people, and so on and so on…
Isn’t that what life is all about? No man is an island – we all need each other. How could anyone have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior if they had not heard the Gospel? And how can they have heard without someone telling them? (Romans 10:14). That’s the ultimate “network.” Hooking people up to the “true vine” because Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:1 and 5).
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King talked about networking too. He said, “As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I had a billion dollars… I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are all interdependent.”
Networking is not always about getting. It’s really about giving. Actually, you’re more blessed when you give than when you receive (Acts 20:35). I have a passion for God which has caused me to have compassion for people.
We must be committed to helping people. Ephesians 4:3 says, “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” When we network together, we weave a bond of ultimate power. Creating alliances and cultivating relationships is critical today, especially in business.
Networking is love in action (see 1 Corinthians 13). The master networker, best-selling author of “Success Runs in Our Race” and publisher of the Success Guide, George C. Fraser said, “I think success really involves the situations you get yourself into and the people you meet. No one can be successful by themselves – it’s the relationships that you develop with the people around you. Throughout my life, I’ve had people who helped me do better.”
Success does run in our race. Fraser has been on a mission to link African Americans together for the betterment of them all. For more than ten years, he has published The Success Guide to accomplish this goal. More than an upscale directory of contacts, it is the only vehicle that has African American professionals from 7 different countries and 75 cities. “It’s networking in an instant with real people getting real results,” said Fraser. He is also the author of the new book, “Click.”
The Bible tells us in Matthew 25:39 to “love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the key to a successful life. Another recurring phrase in the Bible is “one another.” We are to: love, instruct, encourage, stir up, lift up, rejoice with, prefer, serve, pray with, submit to, admonish, minister to, fellowship with and edify one another. Sounds like networking to me.
Nobody gets to the highest peaks without help from others. Networking is the identification of relationships for the purpose of sharing information and resources. Taking time for people and communication is the key. Don’t ever get too busy to share information or your wisdom.
Success comes when you hook up with like-minded folks and kindred spirits. Moving ahead often involves reaching out and being willing to give. We reap what we sow.
So, how does one “network” for success?
Here are some practical tips to implement:
1. Be visible. Dress sharp and snappy. Look like someone others want to know because your image says “success.” Be willing to attend functions alone. Networking expands your circle of influence, builds your personal brand, and garners support.
2. Give before you get. Sow before you reap. Look for ways to be a blessing. Share information and resources with contacts before asking them for anything. Search for their interests and goals when meeting someone new. Figure out a way to help them.Gather, collect, and distribute info. Position yourself as the “go to” person for ministry information. Provide regular updates about helpful events or books. Use an email database system like Constant Contact or AWeber to simplify the process and send information attractively.
3. Write your vision. Make it plain. Make the most of networking opportunities by having eye-catching marketing materials. Have more than a business card when going to a conference or event. Be intentional about your purpose. Have a bookmark or postcard describing your book. Offer a CD or brochure as a speaker.
4. Demonstrate your sincere faith by being a person of character and integrity. Follow the Golden Rule which says, “Treat others as you want to be treated”, with respect and courtesy. Follow up and follow through. Deliver on your promises.
So be deliberate in creating partnerships, building relationships and keeping friendships. Make it your intent to be kind, really care about people, treat others with respect and value everyone.
If professionals work together, exchange ideas, contacts and learn how to joint venture – we’d really be about our Father’s business and that’s real power networking! By letting God direct and guide our actions, we’ll have the ordained relationships for success and that’s better than any social network.
Ministry marketing pioneer, Award-winning social media strategist and PR Coach Pam Perry helps African American Christian authors garner publicity and leverage online strategies. As a 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of “Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry.” For a free MP3 of “What Every Author Should Know,” go to http://www.PamPerryPR.com. She offers help through her private mentorship program at http://www.PamPerryMentoring.com
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