Networking. Is your circle too close?

Photo credit: Back in February I wrote about why we network with others. I’ve scheduled a four networking events using a social media group on LinkedIn.  While each event hasn’t been attended by a large number of people, we have had very meaningful conversations at each event. Thus far everyone that has attended one of the events has worked directly with me in the past.

This had me thinking as I drove home from the last meeting:

  • Do people only network within their closest circle of friends?
  • How many people are truly using professional social networking tools to network?
  • Are people scared to create content on sites like LinkedIn for fear of looking like they are actively seeking employment?
  • Are people still in the observer mode regarding electronic networking tools and prefer to use more traditional methods such as trade association meetings?
  • Are people really only serious about networking when they are not employed?

I believe the answers to these questions depends on the individual. There are different comfort levels with meeting people and discussing life, family, business, etc. But networking is about expanding your circle of acquantinces or keeping in touch with those you don’t see often. One thing is for sure, maintaining relationships requires effort and isn’t always convenient.

What’s your take on the size of networking circles? Do you have any best practices to share?