The Most Important Part Of Networking

Courtesy of photosteve101/Creative Commons License

This week I’ll be out in Colorado at a youth ministry gathering.  It’s something I look forward to because it’s a chance to pow wow with like minded youth ministers.  When I get back I’ll be hosting a local gathering of youth ministers.  This is just another way of connecting with the men and women serving in the trenches around me.

Not sure if you are connected to a network, if you aren’t you should be.  Connecting in networks is important for youth ministers.  It’s what helps you realize you aren’t alone, it’s a great way of sharing ideas and collaborating on projects.  Even though the benefits are great, there is one that stands above the rest.  What is that?
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS – And to build the relationship you need to:

  • Start Out With A Simple Invite – The feeling is to create an event where youth ministers mingle and do something profoundly deep.  The reality is that your first interaction should be simple.  Whether it’s one on one or as a group, just invite them over, order food and talk.
  • Make It Relational – Again there does not have to be a purpose as to why you all gather.  Just make it about getting to know them and them getting to know you.  You’ll want to keep it simple ; however, prepare with some icebreaker questions.  By building relationships you can begin to build trust.  That’s the most important goal in networking.
  • Be Sure To Stay In Touch – One way to keep the relationship strong is by maintaining touch.  At your first face to face interaction exchange emails and follow one another on Twitter.  Touch base from time to time and  make sure you don’t find yourself saying, “Hey, it’s been a while, let’s get together soon.”

Networking isn’t rocket science; however, it can be intimidating.  You are putting yourself out there; however, if you keep it focused on the relationship you will be successful.  After all no one wants to go through the trenches alone. Build the trust, build the camaraderie and grow stronger in what you do.

How do you network with others?