Finding the Purpose in Online Networking Groups

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Have you ever wondered what the purpose of networking groups online are? We all know they are for getting to know others with the hopes of someday obtaining a client or referral. But don’t they have more of a purpose? Aren’t they for finding other people to build relationships with to benefit your business, your clients’ businesses, and their businesses? I think underlying to networking groups is also finding lasting relationships and friendships. Working virtually we spend most of the day in our own offices, with no contact to the outside world. While there are many blessings to this, it can be lonely. So how can you get the most benefit from a networking group online?

First, you can remember the etiquette of online communication. We all know the basics. Don’t use all capitals; that is considered yelling. Use proper punctuation and capital letters, otherwise your lack of grammar will take away from your message. What I am talking about is the etiquette of respect. I see “arguments” break out in groups because of miscommunication or someone overstepping the boundaries and trying to force their opinion on someone else. What happens to the parties involved? Most of the time, they lose the respect of the other group members. How sad is that when they spent all this time building their reputation, and in one moment, they blow it!

So, how can you avoid this happening to you? Stay out of arguments. Don’t get involved in the “office” politics online! I know that sometimes this is difficult when you see someone being unfairly torn down. Know that if you do try to step in, you are opening yourself up to being drug down. Unfortunately, there are unprofessional people on the online networking groups. You have to rise above those. Don’t let them draw you in. By showing that you are the bigger person, you are taking another step in building your reputation.

Remember there are boundaries to each networking group. Each one has established the rules they expect everyone on the group to follow. Be sure to follow what they have set up. Each group has their own purpose, and you will join each one for the purpose it serves. I know that on a lot of my virtual assistance groups, there isn’t a lot of room for debate on topics. They are established to help assist each other and ask questions about running a virtual assistance business. Because of this, someone else established a group that was for debating topics and issues that come up in the virtual assistance industry. Look at each group and see what purpose it would fulfill, and then be sure to follow their boundaries.

Networking online has a great purpose and can really help you to be successful in your business. By maintaining your integrity, following the boundaries of the group, and supporting others, you can get amazing satisfaction from a group and create some lasting friendships!

© 2005 JERPAT

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