Your Apple dictionary will be a bit outdated on the subject of networking, as it will list the following top meanings: 1. an arrangement of intersecting horizontal and vertical lines and 2. a group or system of interconnected people or things.

We all know, in fact, the true meaning of the word “networking” nowadays: Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit, would be one meaning. Or the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business, would be another one.

Basically, networking resonates differently in our minds – as all things do – in direct relation to our experiences around the concept. Browsing the web for the subject will surface loads of articles, guru’s, trend setters, guides, tips and tricks, and, once you read enough of these, you will eventually find yourself in one of two categories of people:

1. those who resent networking

2. those who understand networking from it’s core perspective

The people who reject the word, the concept and, basically, everything related to networking are, usually, those who have received one to many introductory requests based on pure interest. Those who have been assaulted by questions like “Hi, my name is Don. You don’t know me, but could you introduce me to Donald Trump?” Those who can’t stand being used & manipulated, in a perfectly understandable attitude. Allen Gannet, for example, who recently wrote this article for The Next Web.

On the other side, there are people who consider networking from beyond the “nice-to-meet-you-let-me-take-advantage-of-you” approach and dismiss it like you would throw away a bad apple from a basket full of fruits. These are the people who understand not to use twitter for business, these are the people who understand the importance of becoming an authority figure in an industry, and these are the people who will teach to “pursue the relationship, not the sale“.

Because, at the end of the day, networking is about trust. 

Networking helps sales, but it only helps sales if done properly. Of course no one wants to be used and manipulated into referring friends to acquaintances out of the blue. But I’m sure any of us living in the social revolution welcomes connecting people for mutual benefit.

And it doesn’t matter if you do it face to face, through business cards, or online, through social media platforms.

As long as you do it properly and you value common sense above everything else, it will pay off.

In case you missed it, read our Top 10 Networking Resolutions for 2012 and see how many you’ve checked so far.