Networking is Gold-Mining

I had such a great time this week meeting with three different people for coffee, on 3 consecutive mornings.

One is an emerging musician and entrepreneur. Another is a fellow local networker with an over-full plate of responsibilities. Another is someone considering a new career direction.

In each instance, besides mutually shared empathy and advice, potentially valuable network connections were made. Only in one case might there be a bit of direct revenue-work for me. So why invest the time?

Simple. I see network-building as gold-mining. And when you enrich others through your knowledge and your connections, others will also enrich you – short-term or long-term.

For those of you who hesitate to pro-actively meet people and grow your network – I get it. After all, I’m a native introvert (yes, it’s true). I have experienced the faux and smarmy version of shallow “networking” events (yuk!). And I know there’s always a risk to taking the initiative and reaching out to new people.

For your own sake and for the sake of others, please get over it. Your network is a gold mine of great people who enrich you, and who can enrich others. And, that person across the table is also a gold mine of knowlege, experience, perspective, and contacts. It’s incredibly fun to dig into other people’s background and experiences and find common threads and potential needs that can be met. I find these meetings to be fascinating and energizing.

Frothy Monkey CoffeeMy comfort zone is one-on-one, not group social events. So a whole bunch of my gold-mining is done at the Frothy Monkey here in Franklin, at a small table, talking business and life and ideas with one person at a time. For those of us not wired as schmoozers and public socializers, this can be THE best way to build a network. So find a great local coffee shop and make yourself at home.

You’re not merely “building a network.” You’re creating opportunity. You’re mining for gold. The whole is MUCH greater than the sum of its two parts sitting at the table.

I’ll put a plug in here for Southeast Business Forums (a formal networking group in the Middle Tennessee area) because in that group, I’ve been seeing a bunch of mature, business-savvy professionals there who truly “get it” – understanding the power of focused networking and making personal referrals. And who doesn’t want to grow their business based on referrals? I sure do. And that starts with getting to know quality people.

But you don’t have to join a group to mine gold yourself – just start. Invite someone for coffee, even if you don’t see an immediate business connection. Invest weekly time getting to know quality people and good things will happen – I guarantee it.

What are your stories of mining gold through network connections? Feel free to share in the comments (I know I could tell dozens of tales!)


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  1. […] 1. Always bear in mind that vendors can be a GREAT resource. Your vendor-partners typically have unique expertise in an area you need help with – managed markets, instructional design, curriculum development, technology, meeting logistics, and a whole host of other disciplines. But beyond this, the people you get to know on the vendor side have networks and contacts that can be of immense value. As you develop vendor partnerships, don’t forget to sit down over coffee or lunch periodically and just TALK. Your next job role, or a crucial new resource, or some vital bit of industry insight, may come from getting beyond current client/vendor titles and just enjoying some human networking. Further reading: Networking is Gold-Mining. […]

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