It is said that you are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. For example if you hang out with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim, Amancio Ortega and Jeff Bezos then chances are that you are probably a wealthy person. I'm not promising anything but that's probably the case.
In this book by Peter Voogd he talks about the benefits of networking and shifting your circle of influence.
Lets think for a minute if you actually hang out with the five people above, I would say that you actually are going to learn quite a bit and their wisdom is going to rub off on you.
So according to Peter Voogd, what are the benefits of networking?
1. Shared Wisdom
As I said, if you hang out with those aforementioned billionaires then you are going to come out of the interaction with a great deal of information and advice which you couldn't help but use in your life.
Another benefit is that you get to find out about events that might be happening and other things that might not be advertised as much but because you are in the know, you can go along.
You never know what could come of it, right? You go along to a networking event and you might meet you next business partner or a new client or even your life partner. These kind of things happen at events like that. You never know.
3. Increased Income and Influence
You might not get a contract or the like with the people that you meet at an event but they might know someone who knows someone who needs what you have to offer. Also you might know someone who knows someone who wants what they have to offer.
I went to a couple of BNI meetings. This is where you have to bring one referral to someone else in the group for each meeting. This seems to be a good idea and as far as I could ascertain it seems to be quite profitable for some of the members
4. Cutting your learning curve in half
This learning from other people's mistakes is great. You find out what they did and don't do it. Of course making mistakes by yourself is is good because you learn from them and you become a better person because of them.
I made a mistake today which not the worst gave me an instant lesson so that hopefully I don't make it again in the future.
5. Raising your profile
You need to regularly attend these events. I used to but haven't recently and I'm very much out of the loop. The more that you attend, the more recognisable you will become and they will get to know you and trust you.
I know for introverted people and shy people that this might be a little overwhelming but it needs to be done.
6. Lower stress and raise awareness
Like anything, the more you do it the better you get at it and the more comfortable and more confident you become.
So Mr and Ms. Introvert and Shy, the first few times might be torture and you might wonder why you are doing the but the more you do it the easier it will become and before long you will be small talking with the best of them.
Remember, practice makes perfect and you won't get benefit from your networking activities straight away but one day if you put in the effort then things will happen and you better keep up because things will happen very quickly.