Unlike traditional networking, in which individuals market their products and services by entering into business relationships, in community networking members of a community work together for the good of everyone in the community. In this context, a community can be those living within a geographic area, like a neighborhood, or those with similar interests and backgrounds, like the gay community. Job seekers in a given area can be considered a community. Members can form business relationships, but they also provide each other with support, education and encouragement. Everyone wins. In hard times, survival for many means helping each other. Community networking is suitable for anyone. Businesspeople may find worthwhile business contacts, job seekers may find potential employers or job referrals, and those having difficulty with their job or career situations may meet others in the same situation. All who participate will find other members willing to share information and help their fellow members in some way.
The “Three Musketeers” approach to networking
This is about all for one and one for all. It’s a concept that’s alien to the average American, who has been indoctrinated by “the system” to believe that to succeed or survive, they must fend for themselves. Our culture doesn’t encourage us to band together and support each other in times of difficulty. Rather, it does the opposite: it encourages us to compete with each other for what we need and want. It’s a culture of rugged individualism.
When a member of your community comes to your aid, it’s usually because they want to help a fellow member in need. An example of this is when a member of a LinkedIn© group gives you constructive advice for free after you post an inquiry on the group’s message board. Although you can form an alliance with someone in a position to help you, it’s less likely that your ally’s motive for doing so will be altruistic. For example, you may form an alliance with someone in a company you’d like to work for whom you met at a business networking event. However, if that person refers you for a position with the company, it may be because they’ll receive a bonus or positive recognition. And they’d still have to know you before they’ll feel comfortable recommending you.
Oprah Winfrey said on her TV show in 2009 that we in America don’t think in terms of community. Rather, we’re a culture of millions of individuals going in separate directions. If we’d work together and be supportive of one another, she said, we’d accomplish more and improve our quality of life.
All this makes for a cohesive networking organization, one that contributes to the well-being and growth of all members. The community networking model is built upon a simple but strong foundation: In Unity there is Strength.