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Leeds Metropolitan University

Employability Office

Networking

What is "Networking"?

Olive Trees Progression

You’re probably wondering ’what is the significance of the olive trees’? And why we’ve selected a picture of an olive ‘pot plant’ and another of an established olive tree? The appropriateness of this symbol for networking will soon become apparent, however, it is sufficient to say here that because a network consists of people it has a living quality about it. You can certainly set about growing one as will be explained below.

For many people, their first association of the word ‘networking’ is probably computer networking, referring to the connecting of a number of personal computers. For others, it has a negative connotation that they associate with insincerity or making contact with people for selfish reasons.

Before we look at some definitions of networking, have a go at defining it yourself. Type your definition in the box below and when you have completed it, click on "View answer":

Looking at these definitions it becomes clear that networking is actually all about people and relationships. An individual’s network of family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and associates does possess a certain ‘organic’ quality. Like a plant or a tree, at any given moment in time, a person’s network is a certain size and even has a certain health about it. What is more, it responds positively both to positive input (nourishment) and careful cultivation (management).

You may not at present be inclined to the idea of looking at relationships in this way. This next section seeks to show you how disposed to networking you currently are.

See Lifeplan: Developing the Professional Resource entitled ‘How disposed to networking are you?’