The word networking, for many people, conjures up images of uncomfortable resume swaps, nametags, bad coffee and socially overpowering individuals attempting to schmooze their way into a sale.

Having worked for the last four years with two clients who are major networking powerhouses, including CEO Connection, I can say definitively that those who “get” networking know the truth:

  • It’s about a genuine interest in others’ success. 
  • It’s about creating quality relationships where you “give” without any expectations of receiving in return. 
  • It’s grounded in the knowledge that giving is often more fulfilling than getting and that the Universe has a way of bringing things full circle for the benefit of all givers.
  • It revolves around the powerful question, “How can I be of help to you?”

What I came to realize early on with Twitter, and what I have been sharing with executives ever more frequently in the last few months, is that Twitter can amp this up tremendously.  How?  Let’s look at how Twitter provides a jolt of electricity in the following three ways…

1. Expansion Power

Twitter enables you to take the number of people in your business network that you “keep up with,” and have a relationship of familiarity with, and ramp it up dramatically.  Malcolm Gladwell has written of Twitter relationships that they won’t start a revolution, but I know that they’ll lead to new business, new collaborations and the birth of new ideas.

A tweet I sent when on vacation in Hawaii about how I was getting rained on while dining al fresco was answered by a gentleman who was, at the same time, having breakfast on a train in Europe. I had met him very briefly months before that at a conference; we Direct Messaged each other about how Twitter brings people together from around the world and ignited a re-connection. 

He mentioned what he was working on – which led to me hiring him for a speaking opportunity with my client – which led to me connecting him to several members of my network – which has led to a major new account for him… 

Simply put: you can never underestimate the power of a tweet – even a personal tweet – sent ’round the world.

Moreover, my ability to keep up with what is happening in the business lives of acquaintances that are in my regular “in person” network has increased dramatically.  We can quickly and easily share links to information about marketing and leadership which strengthens our relationship and makes us smarter at the same time. 

Others in my network see these interactions and share them further – often to executives at the far reaches of the planet – multiplying the impact to our larger network in a way that simply cannot happen with email and phone calls or even with Facebook which relies on the acceptance of invitations for information and ideas to be seen.

The impact?

When I meet someone new I begin to think about who on Twitter has the same type of business focus and might be a great contact for them from a collaboration or new business perspective.  I find myself connecting people from around the world that would never have met otherwise and who have conversations that lead to dynamic, new global business paths. 

Everything that’s wonderful about networking in business is amplified on Twitter.  And your network is no longer local – it’s global!

2. The Power of Vast Knowledge, Experience and Information Sharing

I mean this with every brain cell I have…I have learned more from my Twitter community in the past two years from the sharing of insights, ideas, advice and links to brilliant blog posts and articles than I ever could have learned attending in-person networking events or reading the major news outlets alone. Hands down the Twitter community of business leaders is exceptional when it comes to being at the forefront of knowledge and technology and the transformation of business and life.

What does all this sharing lead to? Relationships. Many of which lead to collaboration and business generation.

And a great deal of this information gets shared in Twitter Chats:

The Twitter Chat that gave life to the world of blogging for me is #blogchat, which occurs every Sunday evening at 8:00 pm Central Time and is led by the inimitable Mack Collier.  Without my regular attendance at #blogchat over many months, first lurking and then actively absorbing followed by eagerly participating, I would not have had the confidence to launch my own blog or to create, launch and Executive Edit the MENG Blend Blog for my former client. 

By the time I launched both blogs I was fully knowledgeable on all facets of blogging, and my own personal blog launch was so successful that I was invited to write an article about it for MarketingProfs which I titled, “What I Did Right: How I Averaged 80 Comments and 135 Tweets (per post) in My First Week of Blogging.”

The depth of my experience on #blogchat led me to co-Found and co-Lead one of the newest chats on Twitter, #LeadershipChat, which I lovingly lead with my brilliant, savvy and witty partner Steve Woodruff. It’s been one of the most personally fulfilling initiatives I’ve pursued all year, as genuinely smart, experienced and insightful leaders are gathering every Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM Central Time with us around a “virtual but bountiful Tuscany-inspired table” to talk about leadership.  As one of our participants put it in a tweet…

RichardNatoli It was a great chat. I never thought twitter would hold so much value for me. #leadershipchat

3. Cause-Inspired Power

I met Social Media Consultant Tom Martin on Twitter.  We realized we had common business goals and decided to have an offline phone call, which led to further connections being made on both sides.  Tom and I also met our friend Lisa Diomede via Twitter, and separately became ”real-life” friends with her over cocktails.

When Tom’s client, the Drake Hotel, decided to create a sophisticated new initiative to raise money for non-profits, Tom reached out to Lisa and I to co-hostess the inaugural Cocktails4Causes event, which I introduced and invited you all to about a month ago. 

Key point: Our only method of invitation was social media, primarily Twitter – we had no email list to speak of. 

We used #Cocktails4Causes as a unique Twitter hashtag to give the event more Twitter visibility.  Twitter was how virtually everyone who attended heard about the event.

It was a phenomenal success.  (Follow The Drake Hotel on Facebook to see photos from the event.) We had more people attend than we dreamed would attend in the middle of the week during the holidays with only two weeks notice to get it on the calendar!  We raised money for a cause close to my heart (living kidney donation) and met a number of cause-minded people who we never would have otherwise met.

One gentleman saw a tweet about the event at 5:00 pm that evening – an hour before the event started – thought it sounded like a good cause, signed up himself and his wife, and spontaneously joined us for the event –  having a wonderful time in the process.  To wit, I met him that evening and have since hired him to do some creative design work for me.  Networking, folks…

In this case Twitter:

  • created the relationships that led to the opportunity to raise money for something truly personal to me,
  • led to something personally fulfilling in co-hostessing a spectacular event,
  • and enabled me to make a difference in a way I never would have imagined before. 
  • And it served as the primary communication vehicle to invite like-minded and socially-inspired individuals to attend.

How are you using Twitter to amp up your business networking? Please share in the comments, below.  I learn so much from my readers and appreciate all your insights!

Please subscribe so you don’t miss a postSubscribe Here to receive posts in your in-box automatically. To receive posts via “READER” Subscribe Here – thank you – I’m honored to have you as a reader!

And please join me and Mack Collier – who I mentioned above as the inimitable leader of #blogchat – for a FREE webinar offered during the January 5th MarktingProfs Social Media Virtual Conference titled, “The 3 C’s of Profitable Business Blogging.“  We’d love to see you there where we’ll share our business blogging secrets…