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Author Topic: Networking - It's Who You Know  (Read 2023 times)


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Networking - It's Who You Know
« on: April 10, 2009, 10:59:44 AM »

A misconception many fishermen have is the world of bass fishing is composed of a huge network of businesses, the people that run these businesses, and we the customers.  On one hand this is true, but on the other the bass fishing network is really not that big - thanks in part to the art of networking.  Many sponsorships are initiated and nurtured through networking.  So what is networking and how do I become better at it?

Let's first look at the bass fishing network and try to describe it.  The bass fishing network is much like other social networks.  It is made of nodes (individuals or organizations) that have a common bond or bonds (bass fishing).  We are all part of the bass fishing network.  There are also subnetworks within the overarching bass fishing network.   

Example; Ultimate Bass members have a bond with fellow Ultimate Bass members as well as companies who sponsor UltimateBass.com  Ultimate Bass members belong to this Ultimate Bass subnetwork as well as the overarching bass fishing network.  Nonmembers are not part of this subnetwork.

Networking is the art of building relationships with others who are part of the network and increasing the number of trusted contacts within that network.  To be successful at networking, you have to want to get to know others and allow them to get to know you.  Communication is key. 

Envision a big board with the bass fishing network displayed on it.  All nodes are displayed with lines connecting nodes where contacts were made.  You have a small light bulb by your name.  Each time communication occurs between your node and another node - your light bulb lights up.  How often does your light bulb light up?

The internet is a great source of networking tools.  One tool is a bass forum like Ultimate Bass.  Sites like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn are other good examples of networking tools.  They help us make the connections necessary for successful networking - hence the reason they have become so popular.

How did we network before the internet?  The answer is we got to know our neighbors and friends who then introduced us to their friends, who introduced us to their friends, and so on, and so on.  Networking was done face to face.  We were limited to the number of people in our communities - many communities being small.  We still network this way today, but via the internet we can reach more people and thus, increase our chances of success.

The internet has opened our networking door to the whole world.  The world is our community now and is for all those with a computer and the knowhow to use it.  The internet has provided a means of increasing the number of contacts within our network.  We know many more people today than people of prior generations did.  The internet also adds efficiency to networking - we can do more networking in less time.

Like playing a musical instrument - some are better at networking than others.  If you like communicating online or in person and spend time doing so - you will be more successful at networking than others who do not.  It's that simple.  The relationships you build and the contacts you make can help in obtaining the sponsorships you seek. 

The fact is - sponsors want their products in front of as many bass fishermen and as often as possible.  Successful networking provides this service for sponsors.  How often does your light bulb light up?  Are you building a successful bass fishing network?  Are you using all the tools available to you?  Where do you want to bring your network? 
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small.
Rascal Flatts
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